Happy New Year’s Eve


It’s the day before a year that will be filled with lots of change. It’s the day before a year when one daughter who has been raised up in the way she should go will be leaving home to pursue God’s purpose, passion, and plan for her life. It’s the day before a year when another daughter will be heading off to college and getting to play collegiate soccer after graduating her senior year. It’s the day before a year when the house will only have one child left and our son will get the experience of being a teen and only child type of experience. So needless to say there will be a lot of changes in how our house is going to be and feel. God help us enjoy every day we have with our kids. God help us to focus on what is important to you as we prepare for and go through these changes throughout the year. God help us to live our lives in ways that will point our kids towards you and will bring you the praise, the honor, and the glory. Lord, help me I pray to Be The Dad you created me to be for Your purpose, Your plan, Your honor, and Your glory. Seasons are changing and we need to be ready. Seasons are changing and we need to get prepared. Seasons are changing as we move from a home of 5 to 4 and after a few months 3 and after a few years down to 2. Seasons change! So let’s enjoy the one we are in and prepare for the one that is coming so that we can make the most of it for the glory of God!


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 31ST


SPRINGTIME FOR THE SOUL


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.’

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Let’s look for additional context and details by expanding the verses and using the Amplified version:

‘“I am the rose [of the plain] of Sharon, The lily of the valleys [that grows in deep places].” “Like the lily among the thorns, So are you, my darling, among the maidens.” “Like an apple tree [rare and welcome] among the trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the young men! In his shade I took great delight and sat down, And his fruit was sweet and delicious to my palate. He has brought me to his banqueting place, And his banner over me is love [waving overhead to protect and comfort me]. Sustain me with raisin cakes, Refresh me with apples, Because I am sick with love. Let his left hand be under my head And his right hand embrace me.” “I command that you take an oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field [which run free], That you do not rouse nor awaken my love Until she pleases.” “Listen! My beloved! Behold, he comes, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping and running on the hills! My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he is standing behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, He is gazing through the lattice. “My beloved speaks and says to me, ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, And come away. For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth once again; The time for singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree has budded and ripens her figs, And the vines are in blossom and give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, And come away [to climb the rocky steps of the hillside].’ ” “O my dove, [here] in the clefts in the rock, In the sheltered and secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely.” “Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that spoil and ruin the vineyards [of love], While our vineyards are in blossom.” “My beloved is mine and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Return quickly, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether [which separate us].”’

Song of Solomon 2:1-17

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever noticed how our relationships go through seasons?
  • Ever noticed it in your romantic relationships?
  • Ever noticed it in your relationship with God?
  • When you think of seasons have you ever felt like your relationship is going through Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?
  • When you went through the season of winter, did you make the conscious decision to press through and keep going even though it seemed like there was very little warmth?
  • Ever considered how the season of Winter when we compare what happens in nature to the plants speaks to the state of our hearts? A season of barrenness.
  • We need to not lose hope because seasons don’t last forever!
  • We need to hold onto the reality that when this cold season passes it will be heading into Spring.
  • Are you looking for signs of spring? Are you looking for the warmth to return? Are you ready for your heart to be filled with hope?
  • Ever watched mature marriages and compared them to a relationship with God?
  • Marriages start with the heat of passion and idealism of pure love.
  • Ever noticed how when the honeymoon ended how reality hit the husband and wife hard?
  • Ever witnessed the reassessment that needed to happen and go through?
  • Ever witnessed how they took on this necessary challenge?
  • Ever seen how they had to rebuild their relationship based on reality?
  • Ever seen how they built their relationship on realistic expectations and good communication?
  • Ever seen it not work out and the marriage turn into an empty shell?
  • In the midst of the winter season, opportunities to have richer conversations appear.
  • In the midst of the winter season, opportunities to have deeper affection appear.
  • In the midst of the winter season, opportunities to have a marriage that flourishes like never before.
  • So don’t lose hope! Lean in and work to make things better! Be on the lookout for signs of Spring and what needs to happen to be ready.
  • Ever had a similar experience when you started your relationship with God?
  • Did you start the relationship with great joy and high hopes?
  • Did you get incredible experiences with God that built up your faith?
  • Did you eventually get to the point of needing to grow in your faith and find yourself in the point of a change of experience facing trials, troubles, and more difficult situations?
  • We you able to grow and mature through these times like James 1:2-4 speaks of and be able to consider them pure joy?
    • ‘Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. ‘
      James 1:2-4
  • Did you find that the more challenging paths caused you to struggle?
  • Did you find that the more challenging paths caused you to find disappointments?
  • Did you find that the more challenging paths caused you to have misunderstandings?
  • Did it challenge your young faith but by pressing in and pressing on found you built a more mature and strengthen faith?
  • Did you find it helped you draw closer to God?
  • Did you find it helped you build a deeper relationship with God?
  • Are you facing a Winter season today? Don’t lose hope! Remember that Winter’s season of dormancy is required in preparation for Spring.
  • Be it in nature when we see Winter come before Spring.
  • Be it in romantic relationships when we see Winter come before Spring.
  • Be it in our walk with God when we see Winter come before Spring.
  • If we develop greater trust when it is cold and dark, we’ll get to experience more love in the warmth of Spring.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How have you observed seasons in relationships wtih people and God?
  • In both kinds of relationships, what are some things we can do in winter to prepare for spring?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

― William Jennings Bryan

So are you ready to live your life on purpose? Are you ready to live your life with purpose? Are you ready to live your life for a purpose? God created each of us on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose. So we need to choose to receive it and then start to live it in order to achieve it. Let’s invite God into our lives and ask Him to help lead and guide our thoughts, words, and actions so that we can live out our lives for His glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


As I was considering these a song came to mind and so sharing it here to close today’s post: https://youtu.be/QvHE65nImmM

Decision time… How do you know what to do?


I read a message this morning and triggered thoughts of a year gone by. When you go through a tough year, how do you decide if the challenges, the struggles, the trials, the tests, the pain, and the suffering are signs to move on or a time to build your faith strength? In my case, I kept leaning on God and He helped build my faith, He strengthened my family bond and unit, He kept telling me to stay in the midst of it all and never opened a door to step out or step away. It was also necessary as I look back to help me reset and prepare for the new role God had prepared in advance with an incredible new team to lead. The message I read brought this flashback moment because I was curious if that person’s decision was triggered by similar challenges and struggles. I was curious if that person’s decision to get out was directed by God or fear for what reviews and such might look like. I was curious if that person’s decision to get out was triggered by someone else offering them a new role and change. I may never know or it may be something discussed later in life but either way, it made me go back to decision time and how for me I turned to God to get the wisdom and discernment I needed to be able to both decide and press through it. I had picked up my lessons from years gone by and led with forgiveness! I then was able to seek wisdom and discernment from God to know what to do, where to go, how to proceed. And this past year for me with my new team has been incredible with both incredible managers as well as with incredible team members. God is good and He can use all things, even the bad or painful ones, and turn them around and use them for good! God’s got a perspective we can’t have or see from and so we need to trust Him, we need to lean on God rather than our own understanding, we need to go it His way that is so much higher and better than our ways.

It’s New Year’s Eve-eve today and many people will be thinking about making a decision heading into the New Year. What decision are you considering? What is the motivation for the decision? What is the purpose of the decision? Is it self-driven or God-driven? Is it something that you will commit to or is it like many of the New Year resolutions that rarely make it through January? Important things to consider since you still have a couple of days to get it figured out.


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 30TH


BIG CHOICES


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. ‘

Deuteronomy 11:26-28

Let’s look to get more context and details for today’s Bible verses by expanding the verses around it and using the Amplified version for extra details.

‘“Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His precepts, and His commandments [it is your obligation to Him]. Know this day that I am not speaking to your children who have not known [by personal experience] and who have not seen [firsthand] the instruction and discipline of the Lord your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; and His signs and His works which He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land; and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and its chariots, when He made the water of the Red Sea engulf them as they pursued you, and how the Lord completely destroyed them; and what He did to you in the wilderness until you came to this place; and what He did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben, when the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel. For your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which He did. “Therefore, you shall keep all the commandments which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and take possession of the land which you are crossing over [the Jordan] to possess; so that you may live long on the land which the Lord swore (solemnly promised) to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land [of great abundance,] flowing with milk and honey. For the land which you are entering to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it with your foot like a garden of vegetables. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. “It shall come about, if you listen obediently and pay attention to My commandments which I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul [your choices, your thoughts, your whole being]— that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early [fall] rain and the late [spring] rain, so that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your [olive] oil. And He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away [from the Lord ] and serve other gods and worship them, or [else] the Lord’s anger will be kindled and burn against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the land will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you. “Therefore, you shall impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul, and tie them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. You shall teach them [diligently] to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths], speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in all His ways and to hold tightly to Him— then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall become yours; your territory shall be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea (the Mediterranean). No man will be able to stand before you; the Lord your God will lay the fear and the dread of you on all the land on which you set foot, just as He has spoken to you. “Behold, today I am setting before you a blessing and a curse— the blessing, if you listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following (acknowledging, worshiping) other gods which you have not known. “It shall come about, when the Lord your God brings you into the land which you are entering to possess, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not across the Jordan, west of the road, toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? For you are about to cross the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall possess it and live in it, and you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the judgments which I am setting before you today.’

Deuteronomy 11:1-32

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever noticed how God can make the right choice more appealing that the wrong choice?
  • As you consider the above scripture about the benefits of following God’s law do you see how He desires us to make the right choice?
  • Today’s devotional put it the options this way: “You have a choice. You can have a thousand dollars in cash or a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Which one do you want?”
  • Throughout history we have seen many times where people have chosent the stick in the eye.
  • Ever wondered when the options are so clear how anyone could make the wrong choice?
  • The sad part is that they do and so do we.
  • God has made Himself clear about the right and wrong decisions and yet people have struggled to receive it.
  • Consider Eve in the garden and how Satan came to tempt her and confuse her understanding of what God had said.
    • ‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. ‘
      Genesis 3:1-7
  • Satan is trying to get us off track and bring confusion and try to cause us to doubt or question God’s authority and goodness.
  • What if Eve had of responded with “Yes, but He gave us all of the rest of these, and that’s plenty!”?
  • What choices are you facing today?
  • What does God say about your options?
  • Will you trust God?
  • Will you trust His plans?
  • Will you trust His authority?
  • Will you trust His goodness?
  • Or are you allowing Satan to create a wedge between you and God because questioning or doubt?
  • Will you allow doubt and questioning to cause you to walk away from God like what happened to Eve?
  • Are you being tempted today?
  • Are you being tempted to doubt God?
  • Are you being tempted to doubt God’s goodness?
  • Are you being tempted to doubt God’s authority?
  • Are you being tempted to doubt the importance of having God as the centerpiece of your life?
  • Do you think you can do it and nobody will ever know or find out? God knows.
  • Do you think you could have sex with that person because it sounds really good and you think you can do it without anyone finding out? God knows.
  • Do you think you can blow of that responsibility you have since you don’t think anyone will get hurt by it? God knows.
  • Do you think making up stories or lying about something or someone might help you get ahead quicker and coming up with stories why it won’t hurt them or how they weren’t going to be impacted or try for that opportunity anyway? God knows.
  • Do you think overeating won’t be a problem and won’t hurt? God knows.
  • Do you realize how such talk, thoughts, and conversations cause or create doubt over God’s goodness, God’s authority, and hence puts into question the benefits of obedience.
  • What will be your big choice today?
  • It may seem small in the moment but the question is will your decision move you closer to God or further away with each and every one?
  • Will you choose wisely and receive the wonderful blessings?
  • Will you choose unwisely and receive the painful curse?
  • The choice is yours! We all have freewill.
  • So will you choose blessings or curses?
  • The decision is yours! Why not be prepared in advance so that when you are faced with the situation you know the right answer and are ready to make it.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are the choices you face each day that question or affirm God’s authority in your life?
  • Which path are you on? How much progress are you making?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

There is no failure in God’s will, and no success outside of God’s will.

George W Truett

So are you facing a big choice today? Are you considering making a decision heading out of the current and into the coming year? Are you considering how it aligns with God’s will for your life? Are you ready to invite God into the situation in order to receive His wisdom and guidance? Are you ready to start making your decisions in a way that will bring God glory? Are you ready to grab hold of 1 Corinthians 10:31 that says: ‘So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God. ‘? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Where are you today? Are you ready to make the call?


How far do you have to go before you are ready to make the call? How bad do things have to get before you are willing to make the call? How long will it take before you are able to make the call? Will you keep calling till you get an answer? Will you decide to turn from your own ways and your own wisdom and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Will you turn from your wicked ways, humble yourself, and call God? Will you call on God in hopes He is like a genie or will you turn back to Him in awe and wonder and humbly ask for forgiveness and seek His face and His will for your life? Will you invite Jesus into your heart so that you won’t be stubborn minded nor hard hearted?

As I considered these questions, I wondered about how often or what the circumstances might be when people decided to stop trying to go it alone and start calling on God. Here are some examples I found of people calling on God:

They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 7:59-60

and he said,
“I called out of my distress to the Lord,
And He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.

Jonah 2:2

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:12-14

I called on Your name, O Lord,
Out of the lowest pit.

Lamentations 3:55

“I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’
To a nation which did not call on My name.

Isaiah 65:1

“For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,
That all of them may call on the name of the Lord,
To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

Zephaniah 3:9

Search God’s Word and you see many times when people call on God! If Jesus as He was on the cross thought it important enough to call out to God the Father, shouldn’t we make the important choice to be calling out to God too? Jesus cried out in both Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.

‘About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). ‘

Matthew 27:46

‘And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). ‘

Mark 15:34

referencing to Psalms 22 where we can read:

‘Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. But you, Lord , do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord , praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord , and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!’

Psalms 22:3-5,9-11,19-31

So where are you today? Are you calling out to God to stay in a relationship with Him? Are you calling out to God out of distress or trouble? Are you in trouble or distress and not sure where to turn? Are you struggling because of bad decisions and wondering how you will ever be able to get out of it? Turn to God! Ask Him to forgive you and help you to get through this and fix things up. Ask Him for wisdom and discernment to get through it. Call out to God!


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 29TH


CALLING ON GOD


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘“For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? ‘

Deuteronomy 4:7

Let’s get additional context for this verse by expanding the verses and get more details by using the Amplified version:

‘“Now, O Israel, listen and pay attention to the statutes and the judgments (God’s legal decisions) which I am teaching you to do, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I am commanding you. Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-Peor; for all the men who followed [and participated in the worship of] Baal of Peor, the Lord your God destroyed them from among you, but you who held tightly to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you. “Look, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God has commanded me, so that you may do them in the land which you are entering to possess. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God [is to us] whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation has statutes and judgments so righteous (upright, just) as this whole law which I am placing before you today? “Only pay attention and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your grandchildren [impressing these things on their mind and penetrating their heart with these truths]— especially the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb (Mount Sinai), when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me and I will let them hear My words, so that they may learn to fear Me [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] all the days they live on the land, and so that they may teach their children.’ You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the [very] heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words, but you saw no form—there was only a voice. So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to follow, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. The Lord commanded me at that time to teach you the statutes and judgments, so that you might do them in the land which you are going over to possess. “So pay attention and watch yourselves carefully—for you did not see any form [of God] on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire— so that you do not act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved or sculpted image [to worship] in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, or of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that crawls on the ground, or of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth. And beware that you do not raise your eyes toward heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and let yourselves be led astray and worship them and serve them, [mere created bodies] which the Lord your God has allotted to [serve and benefit] all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron [smelting] furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as [you are] this day. “Now the Lord was angry with me [at the waters of Meribah] because of you, and He swore [an oath] that I would not cross the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. For I am going to die in this land, I am not going to cross the Jordan, but you shall cross over and take possession of this good land. So be on your guard and watch yourselves, so that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He has made with you, and make for yourselves a carved or sculpted image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; He is a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His]. “When you become the father of children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, then if you corrupt yourselves by making a carved or sculpted image in the form of anything [for the purpose of worship], and do evil [things] in the sight of the Lord your God, provoking Him to anger, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. The Lord will scatter and disperse you among the peoples (pagan nations), and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord drives you. And there you will serve [false and foreign] gods, the work of human hands, [lifeless images of] wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell [the offerings of food given to them]. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and tribulation and all these things come on you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful and compassionate God; He will not fail you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them. “Indeed, ask now about the days that are past, [those days] which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it? Did [any] people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you heard, and [still] live? Or has any [man-made] god ever tried to go and take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your [very] eyes? It was shown to you so that you might have [personal] knowledge and comprehend that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him. Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline and admonish you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire. And because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants who followed them, and brought you from Egypt with His Presence, with His great and awesome power, dispossessing and driving out from before you nations, [nations that were] greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. Therefore know and understand today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below; there is no other. So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am commanding you today, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.” Then Moses set apart three cities [of refuge] beyond the Jordan toward the rising of the sun (eastward), so that someone who committed manslaughter could flee there, [that is, a person] who killed his neighbor unintentionally and without previously having hostility toward him, and that by escaping to one of these cities he might [claim the right of asylum and] save his life: Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau for the Reubenites, and Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan for the Manassites. This is the law which Moses placed before the sons of Israel; these are the testimonies (legal provisions) and the statutes and the judgments which Moses spoke to the sons of Israel when they came out of Egypt, beyond the Jordan in the Valley opposite Beth-Peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and the sons of Israel defeated when they came out from Egypt. They took possession of his land and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who reigned across the Jordan to the east, from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the [river] Arnon, as far as Mount Sion (that is, Hermon), with all the Arabah (desert lowlands) across the Jordan to the east, even as far as the sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea), at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah.’

Deuteronomy 4:1-49

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Are you ok with rules and regulations to set healthy boundaries in your life?
  • Are you ok with correction and instruction to help you learn the ways you should go?
  • Are you ready to make good choices?
  • Are you prepared to make good decisions?
  • Are you aware of the benefits and the consequences of your choices and actions?
  • Will you choose to live by God’s instruction and directions?
  • Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your counselor and your guide in making good decisions?
  • Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your counselor and your guide in taking right actions?
  • Are you living with the reassurance of God like the people of Israel did back in the day?
  • They had the tabernacle and the pillars of smoke and fire to remind them.
  • Do you turn to God’s Word, the cross, the resurrection as your signs for reassurance?
  • Do you realize that these are signs given to let everyone know that He is giving you an open invitation to come to Him in prayer?
  • Do you realize that these were signs to let everyone know that He was available day or night?
  • Do you realize that these were signs to let everyone know that He was able and that we didn’t need to have some formal or informal way to calling on Him?
  • Do you realize that these were signs to let everyone know that He was available to individuals and to groups?
  • When you look at the laws of the land, do you realize how they were written base don Judeo-Christian ethics?
  • Do you realize the balance they come with between freedom and direction?
  • Do you realize the balance they come with between reward and punishment?
  • Ever noticed how people, both secular and Christian leaders, over history have called people to pray during difficult times?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer during times of wars?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer during times of famines?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer during times of flods?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer during times of natural disasters?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer during times of blessing?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer during times of prosperity?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer for families?
  • Ever seen a call to prayer for homes?
  • Many of the founders of the USA looked to God for direction, will you? do you?
  • Many of the founders of the US Declaration of Indepence looked to God for direction, will you? do you?
  • Many of the founders of the US Constitution looked to God for direction, will you? do you?
  • Many of the founders then thanked God for His wisdom and direction, will you? do you?
  • Have you ever noticed how short lived the times of thankfulness can be over history?
  • People seem to forget and start to go it alone or at least try.
  • People seem to forget and walk away from Him and His covering.
  • Today do you see how people have forgotten, even in the midst of the blessings God has given us?
  • Today do you see how people have forgotten, even in the midst of God’s care and protection over us?
  • Let’s remind one another!
  • Let’s not allow ourselves to forget but instead find ways to remind each other of God’s goodness!
  • Let’s remind each other through the highs and the lows!
  • Let’s remind each other through the good and the bad times!
  • Let’s remember all that God has given us!
  • Let’s remember all that Jesus has given us!
  • Let’s remember God’s love!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What leader do you know of who called on people to pray to God in either good times or bad?
  • What are some ways you can remind yourself and others to pray more often for our country?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Thomas Jefferson

So where are you today? Are you ready to start a relationship with God? Are you ready to not only call on Him but rather be in conversation and relationship with Him? Are you ready to get things back into order and start pursuing God’s plan and purpose for your life? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


The benefits of being tested and trials…


One of the things that came to mind when I thought about the benefits of being tested was the fact that you will have a testimony. Testing also brings with it the benefits of understanding what we know, the gaps, and improved performance. Testing helps with our ability to retain and retrieve information too. Testing helps us to focus. Testing of our faith has a positive effect on our hearts and souls. In the end, you will be able to testify about the goodness of God!

In the Bible we get some pointers too like in James 1 where it speaks to the refining of our faith:

‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ‘

James 1:2-4

and in 1 Peter 1 where it speaks to the purifying of our faith :

‘In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ‘

1 Peter 1:6-9

and in Philippians 1 where it speaks to the establishment of our faith:

‘I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ‘

Philippians 1:3-6

and in Acts 20 where it speaks to preparing us to be able to share our faith:

‘From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. ‘

Acts 20:17-21

Testing has many purposes that are for our good. And when we allow the trials and testing to finish and for us to persevere, as James tells us God will work to purify us making us complete and lacking nothing.


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 28TH


PURE AS GOLD


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.’

Job 23:9-10

Let’s get additional context by expanding the verses and details using the Amplified version.

‘Then Job answered and said, “Even today my complaint is contentious; His hand is heavy despite my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might [even] come to His seat! I would present my cause before Him And fill my mouth with arguments. I would learn the words which He would answer, And understand what He would say to me. Would He contend against me with His great power? No, surely He would give attention to me. There the righteous and upright could reason with Him; So I would be acquitted forever by my Judge. “Behold, I go forward (to the east), but He is not there; I go backward (to the west), but I cannot perceive Him; To the left (north) He turns, but I cannot behold Him; He turns to the right hand (south), but I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous]. My feet have carefully followed His steps; I have kept His ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have kept the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. But He is unique and unchangeable, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is planned (appointed) for me, And He is mindful of many such things. Therefore I would be terrified at His presence; When I consider [all of this], I tremble in dread of Him. For God has made my heart faint, And the Almighty has terrified me, But I am not silenced by the darkness [of these woes that fell on me], Nor by the thick darkness which covers my face.’

Job 23:1-17

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever wished you knew the backstory to why are you being tested?
  • Ever wished you knew the backstory to why such a trial is necessary?
  • Ever found that in the midst of the trials and tests you wished they were over and yet when you get through it you wouldn’t want anyone else to have to go through it but you wouldn’t be willing to give up the experience? For me it was the test that showed me the need and importance of forgiveness. It provided me the ability and opportunity to speak into so many lives while I was still at Microsoft and later I was given the opportunity to share the story as part of a Story Slam at GoDaddy.
  • Would I want to go through that pain ever again? NOPE
  • Would I want to give up the lessons learned, the purification it caused, the refining of my spirit? NOPE
  • We learn in Job 1 the backstory to what is about to happen to Job.
  • We learn how God and the devil know but Job was left out of the loop.
  • Job can’t figure out why he is going through such pain and suffering, such tragic loss and friends that were no help when they blamed him for what was going on like it was his fault or something.
  • Job wants to talk to God directly to ask Him some questions.
  • Unfortunately for a large portion of the story Job finds that he can’t get an answer there either.
  • In the midst of it all Job feels lost and abandoned by God.
  • Some of the pain and suffering we go through in life is because of our decisions and actions, consequences of sin and bad choices.
  • Others come as tests that strengthen us, not to try and make us fail.
  • Others come as tests that have the purpose of strengthening our faith by trusting God in and through it all.
  • Remember the story of the vines and the vine dresser? Remember how it spoke of pruning? These tests are more like pruning. Theses test will help us be more fruitful!
    • ‘ “ I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you]. Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]. If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing. ‘
      John 15:1-11
  • Job speaks to it more from a metalurgical perspective and the purifying process that includes intense fire to burn off the impurities and leaves only the pure metals like gold and silver.
  • So when you face a tough situation you need to determine the source.
  • When you face a tough situation you need to determine if it was a selfish or foolish decision. We then can look to make adjustments or changes to get back on track.
  • When you face a tough situation you need to be able to take hold of the situation and lean into God to help you through the testing, the pruning, and the refining process.
  • When you face tough situation you need to remember the testing, pruning, and refining aren’t to harm you but are to help make you stronger.
  • Recognizing the source will help us share the response.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are some ways God tests, prunes, and refines believers?
  • How has He done this in your life? How did you respond?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Trial is God’s alchemy by which the dross is left in the crucible, the baser metals are transmuted, and the character is enriched with Gold.”

William Morley Punshon

So where are you at today? Are you being tested? Are you facing trials? Are you needing the reassurance of God to help you pass the test? Are you needing the strength of God to help you persevere? Are you needing to know you aren’t alone? Are you looking for answers? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life and the situation? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


What is your source? What fuels you?


Where does your power come from? Where does your hope come from? What allows you to keep going? What is the foundation that helps you stand firm? What is the ground you are allowing your roots to grow into? What is feeding you? What is filling you? What is it helping you to become?

Don’t allow bitter roots to take hold because they will eat you up from the inside out! Trade those feelings and emotions of bitterness for forgiveness! Don’t be chained in bitterness instead choose to be freed by forgiveness? The choice is yours! Forgiveness is the key! God is required! Having problems with a friend, family member, colleague? Have you been able to forgive them? Have you ever been forgiven even when you didn’t deserve it?

Have you invited Jesus into your heart to help clean house? Have you invited Jesus into your heart to help you uproot things that shouldn’t be there? Have you invited Jesus into your heart to help create a new heart, a new perspective, and a new life for you? When you allow God to be your source and fill you to overflowing then you are able to pour life and love and hope into the people God brings your way. When you allow Jesus to be your foundation and cornerstone then you are able to stand firm and be prepared by putting on the full armor of God! When we allow Jesus to be in charge then we are able to live out our lives in pursuit of His plans and purposes for our lives and be His hands and arms extended to reach a lost world and point them to an eternity with God instead of one where they will continue to suffer apart from God. What’s it cost? Your decision! It’s too expensive for us to be able to pay for it or even afford it and so God is giving it away to those who will accept and receive it! It’s not something we can borrow from others but rather something we have to decide and receive for ourselves. Unlike material things which can be borrowed for a season, faith in Jesus requires us to accept and receive it for ourselves. The decision is ours and ours alone to make. It’s personal! It’s intimate! It’s real! So we need to make the decision on our own and for ourselves!

Are you ready to truly live? God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future! Are you ready to fully live? Jesus came that we can have life and life to the full! Yes, in this world we will have troubles but with Jesus we have the promise that He has overcome the world! Yes, we will face trials but with Jesus we can consider them pure joy because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that when we let perseverance finish its work will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So are you ready to be filled with the power to truly live? Are you ready to be filled with the hope that will allow you to truly live? Are you ready to be filled with the life that is powered by and fueled by God? Could today be the day it starts?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 27TH


POWER TO LIVE


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.’

I Corinthians 6:14

Let’s get more context for this statement by expanding the verses around it and getting more details by using the Amplified version.

‘Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will do away with both of them. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body [to save, sanctify, and raise it again because of the sacrifice of the cross]. And God has not only raised the Lord [to life], but will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Am I therefore to take the members of Christ and make them part of a prostitute? Certainly not! Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall be one flesh .” But the one who is united and joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Run away from sexual immorality [in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written]. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the one who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.’

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • If you consider your eyes as the sight then what is your aim in life?
  • If you consider your eyes as the sight then what are you pointing at or towards?
  • Are you pointing upwards and towards God and His purpose and plans?
  • Are you pointing to earthly things and away from God?
  • Are you earthly like the young in their faith Corinthians that Paul is speaking to?
  • Are you ready to level up your life in response to Paul’s writing?
  • We see how Paul is speaking to them in today’s verses about food and sex.
    • ‘Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will do away with both of them. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body [to save, sanctify, and raise it again because of the sacrifice of the cross]. ‘
      1 Corinthians 6:12-13
  • Are you ready to receive the truth that our body and our urges have come from God?
  • Are you ready to receive the truth that everything we are and have is to glorify God?
  • Are you ready to live free rather than being restricted or imprisoned within our bodies by food and sex?
  • Are you ready to live free by dedicating your body to God?
  • Are you ready to live free by dedicating your body to honoring God?
  • The body is important! The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit!
  • The body is so important that Christ’s body was raised from the dead!
  • The body is so important that one day our bodies will also be resurrected too!
  • God works in and through our bodies to enable us to accomplis His will and His purposes!
  • Our bodies may not be perfect but they do have purpose to honor God and help others!
  • So let’s consider our bodies sacred!
  • Let’s decide to not use our bodies for immoral behavior!
  • Let’s decide that they are too valuable for such things!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • In what ways are you using your body to honor God? In what ways are you failing to use it for that purpose?
  • What are some choices you can make today to use your body more effectively for Christ?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“If Christ was not raised, His death was in vain. Your faith in Him would be pointless, and your sins would still be counted against you with no hope of a spiritual life.”

John MacArthur

So where are you at today? Are you ready to decide to live a life to the full? Are you ready to decide to live a life that has been redeemed? Are you ready to decide to live a life that has been forgiven and can forgive others? Are you ready to receive hope? Are you ready to receive joy? Are you ready to receive love? Are you ready to overflow in all of these into the lives of the world around you? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Who’s been there? Have you been there?


On the highest of highs who has been there for you? On the lowest of lows who has been there for you? As you walk through life who has been there for you? Was it a friend? Was it a family member?

Who have you been there for? Did you stick around through the highs? Did you stick around through the lows? Did you stick around through the walk of life? Were you being a friend? Were you being a family member?

What makes people stick around when you are flying high? What makes them stay when things slow down? What makes them stay when things get rough and you are hitting lows?

What makes people leave when you are flying high? What makes them leave when things slow down? What makes them leave when things start to get rough and you are hitting lows?

As I asked these questions, the story of the prodigal or lost son came to mind as we look to see who sticks around during different phases of life and gives us something to consider and reflect upon before jumping into today’s devotional.

‘Then He said, “A certain man had two sons. The younger of them [inappropriately] said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.’ So he divided the estate between them. A few days later, the younger son gathered together everything [that he had] and traveled to a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and immoral living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to do without and be in need. So he went and forced himself on one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He would have gladly eaten the [carob] pods that the pigs were eating [but they could not satisfy his hunger], and no one was giving anything to him. But when he [finally] came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough food, while I am dying here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] treat me like one of your hired men.” ’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe [for the guest of honor] and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand, and sandals for his feet. And bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let us [invite everyone and] feast and celebrate; for this son of mine was [as good as] dead and is alive again; he was lost and has been found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field; and when he returned and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. So he summoned one of the servants and began asking what this [celebration] meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But the elder brother became angry and deeply resentful and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he said to his father, ‘Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never neglected or disobeyed your command. Yet you have never given me [so much as] a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this [other] son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you slaughtered that fattened calf for him!’ The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was [as good as] dead and has begun to live. He was lost and has been found.’ ”’

Luke 15:11-32

THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 26TH


THE VALUE OF FRIENDSHIP


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.’

Proverbs 17:17

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever been through a time when your comfortable, stable, happy life starts to crumble over a period of time?
  • Ever found demands around the home, your parents or your in-laws start to create or even escalate tension in your marriage and home life?
  • Ever found your attitude starting to change and it impacting the way you respond and react?
  • Ever found it starting to spill into your non-home and work life?
  • Ever found it started to impact your “friends” and seen them start to disappear?
  • Ever found that your negative attitude can impact your life and your relationships?
  • Ever found that you don’t like being around people who aren’t fun anymore and that when you started to not be any fun that others started to leave too?
  • In the midst of all of that was there anyone who stuck around?
  • In the midst of all of that was there someone who didn’t walk away on you?
  • In the midst of all of that do you remember what having that one friend who stuck it out with you made you feel?
  • Have you discovered how that person is even of greater value to you now?
  • All significant relationshipw will be tested! Today’s devotional calls out that they will be tested through disputes and difficulties.
  • Ever found the balance of give and take can impact the response of friends? Today’s devotional calls out how it can be easier to walk away when people are taking more than they give.
  • Today’s devotional points to how a true friend moves closer in the midst of pain and trials.
  • Today’s devotional points to how a true friend brings stability and understanding in the midst of pain and suffering.
  • Today’s devotional points to how a true friend brings a listening ear when nobody else wants to listen.
  • Today’s devotional points to how a true friend doesn’t try to play fix-it but rather they listen giving advice sparingly.
  • Don’t you want a friend like that?
  • Are you ready to be a friend like that?
  • Are you ready to stick it out with friends who are struggling?
  • Are you ready to be that ear or that shoulder when tough times come?
  • Let’s choose to be that kind of friend!
  • I am blessed to have such a friend and his name is Daron.
  • I have had many friends who have decided to stick around over the years but in the last few decades Daron has been the guy.
  • I am blessed with an incredible wife who has walked through it all with me being loving and caring, supporting and helping and wouldn’t have imagined ever doing this thing called life without her.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • In your life, who has been this kind of friend?
  • Who needs you to be this kind of friend today? What will you do to show support?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Be slow in choosing a friend … even slower in leaving a friend.”

Ike Reighard

“The best way to have more friends is to be a friend.”

Zig Ziglar

So where are you at today? Have you had an encounter with Jesus and are able to live out your life knowing that you will never be walking alone? Have you taken up His example and been able to pour into the life of others as a friend? Have you been looking for friends and had a hard time finding a good one? Are you ready for some help from the Holy Spirit? Are you ready to have God help you? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Merry Christmas!


A day of joy! A day of celebration! A day of love! A day of hope! A day of generosity! A time of giving! A time of receiving! A time to forgive! A time to reconcile! A time to make it count!

Are you ready to make the most of your today? Are you ready to be the person God created you to be? Are you ready to become the person God purposed for you to be? Are you ready to experience the fullness of life? Are you ready to let perseverance through the trials of life finish its work so that through God you will be complete and lacking nothing? Are you ready to be the catalyst for positive change? Are you ready to be the ambassador of peace God created you to be? Are you ready to be light to shine through the darkness in this world? Are you ready to receive the gift of God that is Jesus Christ and be and live a redeemed life? Are you ready to be adopted into the family of God and God’s child? Are you ready to be salt and spice up this world?

With the lights out the room is bright because everyone lifted up their light and chased away the darkness.
Candlelight Service – demonstrates how by raising our lights and letting our lights shine we can bring light into a dark world.

Will you use the time you have today to make a difference? Will you use the time you get today to be the difference? Will you use the time you get today to celebrate? Will you use the time you get today to strengthen one another? Will you use the time you have today to make it a Happy Today? Will you use the time you have to not only make a difference but also be the difference? Let’s lead with love! Let’s be the light! Let’s make today the best today it can be! Let’s finish strong! Let’s be prepared! Let’s decide to follow Jesus! Let’s choose love!


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 25TH


THE FULLNESS OF TIME


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.’

Galatians 4:3-5

Let’s take this and expand on it to have better context as well as more details by using the Amplified version to be able to better grasp being a child of God through Jesus Christ our Lord:

‘Now what I mean [when I talk about children and their guardians] is this: as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave even though he is the [future owner and] master of all [the estate]; but he is under [the authority of] guardians and household administrators or managers until the date set by his father [when he is of legal age]. So also we [whether Jews or Gentiles], when we were children (spiritually immature), were kept like slaves under the elementary [man-made religious or philosophical] teachings of the world. But when [in God’s plan] the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the [regulations of the] Law, so that He might redeem and liberate those who were under the Law, that we [who believe] might be adopted as sons [as God’s children with all rights as fully grown members of a family]. And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave (bond-servant), but a son; and if a son, then also an heir through [the gracious act of] God [through Christ]. But at that time, when you did not know [the true] God and were unacquainted with Him, you [Gentiles] were slaves to those [pagan] things which by [their very] nature were not and could not be gods at all. Now, however, since you have come to know [the true] God [through personal experience], or rather to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and worthless elemental principles [of religions and philosophies], to which you want to be enslaved all over again? [For example,] you observe [particular] days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored [to the point of exhaustion] over you in vain. Believers, I beg of you, become as I am [free from the bondage of Jewish ritualism and ordinances], for I have become as you are [a Gentile]. You did me no wrong [when I first came to you; do not do it now]. On the contrary, you know that it was because of a physical illness that I [remained and] preached the gospel to you the first time; and even though my physical condition was a trial to you, you did not regard it with contempt, or scorn and reject me; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus Himself. What then has become of that sense of blessing and the joy that you once had [from your salvation and your relationship with Christ]? For I testify of you that, if possible, you would have torn out your own eyes and given them to me [ to replace mine]. So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? These men [the Judaizers] eagerly seek you [to entrap you with honeyed words and attention, to win you over to their philosophy], not honorably [for their purpose is not honorable or worthy of consideration]. They want to isolate you [from us who oppose them] so that you will seek them. Now it is always pleasant to be eagerly sought after [provided that it is] for a good purpose, and not just when I am with you [seeking you myself—but beware of the others doing it]. My little children, for whom I am again in [the pains of] labor until Christ is [completely and permanently] formed within you— how I wish that I were with you now and could change my tone, because I am perplexed in regard to you. ‘

Galatians 4:1-20

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • How many prophesies would it take for you to want for it?
  • The promise of the Messiah was propesied may times over many years by many people.
  • Many people lived and died hearing about the Messiah and yet never getting to know or witness Him.
  • God’s timing is perfect and He wouldn’t be rushed throughout the thousands of years of prophecy.
  • When the moment was right, He sent Jesus who stepped out of heaven, out of eternity, and into this world at the right time in the right place to be able to come and give Himself as the final payment, the ultimate payment to rescue and reconcile us to God!
  • God’s timing is perfect and the why at that exact moment will be something we will need to ask Him when we get to see Him face to face.
  • God’s timing brings together a situation where the Roman empire had conquered most of the known world which created connections that didn’t exist when most people had been living in their own little communities and tribes for so long.
  • Today’s devotional points out how some amazing “coincidences” came to be duing the first-century Palestine.
  • Today’s devotional calls out three factors that they call CPR:
    • Communication
    • Pax Romana
    • Roads
  • Communication:
    • Before the Roman Empire, life was a group of tribes and roaming bands of hunter-gatherers.
    • After the Roman Empire, life was connected with Rome being stamped into and onto every culture through languages like Latin and Greek which made it possible for people to communicate across tribes and bands.
  • Pax Romana:
    • The Roman Peace
    • Rome’s millitary came in and conquered because of their superior armor, weapons, tactics, and leaders.
    • Rome’s conquering brought about peace throughout the land as fighting ceased.
  • Roads:
    • The Roman roads created the opportunity and ability for trade and commerce to happen and grow.
    • The Roman roads created a way for messages to flow across regions, areas, tribes, and bands.
    • The Roman roads were built so well that there are still many in existance and being used today in parts of the ancient empire.
  • Jesus Christ came, lived, and died at a time and place where the gospel message could explode across geography and cultures.
  • Jesus Christ came, lived, and died at a time and place where the message could reach every person.
  • Jesus Christ could have come at any time in history and yet He chose that exact time which offered so many advantages and opportunities for the message of hope, the message of love, the message of God, the Good News to spread the world over!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Why are these three factors important to the spread of the gospel after Jesus came?
  • What are some similar factors today that make it convenient to tell people about Him?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“A pregnant virgin gave birth to the promised Son of God at a time when the world was pregnant with possibilities.”

Ike Reighard

It’s Christmas day! Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday Jesus! I would be missing something if I didn’t just close today’s post by asking you if you have received Jesus yet. I remember that first aha Christmas back in 2000 when the reality of having a relationship with Jesus was revealed. Knowing the reality that it isn’t about rituals and routines but rather about having a living and intimate relationship with God! So if you haven’t accepted the gift of a relationship with Jesus yet, why not decide today on Christmas to invite Jesus into your heart? If you have been putting off starting a relationship with Jesus for that right moment, why not decide today to make it that moment? If you were looking for a reason, a season, a day, a time to invite Jesus into your heart why not make it today? Are you ready to make the rest of your life the best it can be? Are you ready to live a life that is transformed by the grace of God for the better? Are you ready to grab hold of God’s plans for you which are good? Are you ready to grab hold of God’s plans for you of hope and a future? Are you ready to never have to go through anything alone ever again because Emmanuel, God with us, will be with You every step of every day through the Holy Spirit?

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


What are you leaving behind?


Is it an attitude? Is it a perspective? Is it a message? Is it an object? Is it a memory?

Are you leaving something behind that will last? Are you leaving something behind that will fade away? Are you leaving anything behind?

Temporary vs Permanent. Will it leave a positive impact? Will it leave an attitude of gratitude? Will it be an attitude of love? Will it be an attitude of forgiveness? Will it be an attitude of grace? Will it be an attitude of joy? Will it leave a positive perspective? Will it leave a message of hope? Will it leave a message of joy? Will it live on? Will it be transferable? Will it make a difference? Will it be something people can take with them? Will it be something that will last into eternity?

Remember the things that will last? Remember how people’s spirits will last and it becomes more of a matter of where they will spend their eternity? Remember from 1 Corinthians 13:13 the 3 things that will last? Remember the greatest one?

‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’

1 Corinthians 13:13

So what will be your legacy to those you leave behind? Will it be a bunch of stuff? Will it be something that will support and encourage them through the highs and lows of life? Will it be something that will endure the passage of time? Will it be a relationship with Jesus? Will it be the importance and power of having a relationship with Jesus? Will it be the purpose and plans of living a life for Jesus – knowing Him and making Him known? Will it be inviting Jesus into their hearts so that they can live out the rest of their lives sensitive to and in alignment with the prompting and direction of the Holy Spirit? Or will it just be stuff? Or will it just be achievements? Will it be something that will last through the fiery furnace or will it burn up? Will it be something that lasts into eternity because it is pointing people to Jesus? Will it be a heart of service? Will it be a heart of generosity? Will it be about giving? Will it be about finding God’s purpose for your life and then living it to the full? Will it be trusting God even when you don’t understand it? Will it be loving others, even the unlovable?

So what is most important about what you do today? Tomorrow is Christmas for me as I write this and getting to spend time being the dad God created me to be to my kids and for my wife is key. The dad who shares the love of God with my wife, kids, neighbors, and friends. The dad who shares the hope of Jesus with my wife, kids, neighbors, and friends. The dad who shares love with my wife, kids, neighbors, and friends. How about you? What is your purpose? What is your plan? What will be your legacy?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 24TH


Leaving A Legacy


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. ‘

Philippians 2:5-7

Let’s get more details and context to this statement of being like Christ by expanding the verses around it and using the Amplified version.

‘Therefore if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ [as there certainly is in abundance], if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship [that we share] in the Spirit, if [there is] any [great depth of] affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ]. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father. So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure. Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith [for preaching the message of salvation], still I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. ‘

Philippians 2:1-18

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • What comes to mind when you hear the word legacy? achievements? accumulations?
  • Ever considered the legacy Jesus provided us? service! giving! generosity!
  • Jesus was more interested in serving those in need than waving power!
  • Jesus was more interested in giving than achieving worldly wealth and success!
  • Jesus’s legacy was selfless love!
  • Jesus’s legacy was valuing others over Himself!
  • Jesus loved us so much He came to this earth to make a way when there wasn’t a way!
  • He had it made in heaven and yet He came.
  • He had the fullness of glory and was being attended to by angels and yet He came.
  • He came because He loves us so much!
  • He came because He was the only way to make a way!
  • It was going to take an act of God to be able to make things right!
  • He came, stooping down to our level to make a way!
  • He came, to connect with us in order for there to be a way and we could understand!
  • He came, to serve us to the point of even giving up His life on the cross as our substitue!
  • Jesus gave up so much because He loves us so much!
  • Jesus gave so much because He loves us so much!
  • Doesn’t that amaze you how much He loves you?
  • Doesn’t that amaze you so much that you want to emulate Him?
  • Who around us need our love?
  • Who are the people we see who seem unlovable and yet we should love them?
  • Are you loving your spouse?
  • Are you loving your kids?
  • Are you loving your extended family?
  • Are you loving your neighbors?
  • Are you loving the people who call you on the phone?
  • Are you loving the people who email you or you email?
  • Are you ready to created and pass on a legacy by pouring out your life for them?
  • Are you ready to created and pass on a legacy by speaking the truth to them?
  • Are you ready to created and pass on a legacy by encouraging them to do right?
  • Are you ready to created and pass on a legacy by celebrating when they do right?
  • Are you ready to created and pass on a legacy by forgiving them when they don’t do right?
  • Do you know or have you seen people who leave such a legacy?
  • Are you ready to be one of these people?
  • Today’s your day to decide and choose!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What kind of legacy does God want you to leave?
  • What steps can you take today to forge that legacy?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.

George Washington Carver

It’s Christmas Eve and today we get to the last chapter of the book of Luke. As we are on the verge of celebrating Christmas day, let’s close out strong and get the most we can from this last chapter of Luke by using the Amplified version. As we prepare to celebrate the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, let’s grab hold of God’s Word for us:

‘But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared [to finish anointing the body]. And they found the [large, circular] stone rolled back from the tomb, but when they went inside, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed and wondering about this, suddenly, two men in dazzling clothing stood near them; and as the women were terrified and were bowing their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why are you looking for the living One among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise [from death to life].” And they remembered His words, and after returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven [apostles] and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna [the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward] and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. But their report seemed to them like idle talk and nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping [at the small entrance] and looking in, he saw only the linen wrappings; and he went away, wondering about what had happened.

And then, that very day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing it, Jesus Himself came up and began walking with them. But their eyes were [miraculously] prevented from recognizing Him. Then Jesus asked them, “What are you discussing with one another as you walk along?” And they stood still, looking brokenhearted. One of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, “Are you the only stranger visiting Jerusalem who is unaware of the things which have happened here in these [recent] days?” He asked, “What things?” And they replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel and set our nation free. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. And also some of the women among us shocked us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and they did not find His body. Then they came back, saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive! Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women had said, but they did not see Him.” Then Jesus said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to trust and believe in everything that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and [only then to] enter His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and [throughout] all the [writings of the] prophets, He explained and interpreted for them the things referring to Himself [found] in all the Scriptures. Then they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as if He were going farther. But they urged Him [not to go on], saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening, and the day has just about ended.” So He went inside to stay with them. And it happened that as He reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were [suddenly] opened [by God] and they [clearly] recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and opening the Scriptures to us?” They got up that very hour and went back to Jerusalem, and found the eleven [apostles] gathered together and those who were with them, saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon [Peter]!” They began describing in detail what had happened on the road, and how Jesus was recognized by them when He broke the bread.

While they were talking about this, Jesus Himself [suddenly] stood among them and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said, “Why are you troubled, and why are doubts rising in your hearts? Look at [the marks in] My hands and My feet, [and see] that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” After saying this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still did not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in front of them. Then He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything which has been written about Me in the Law of Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to [help them] understand the Scriptures, and said, “And so it is written, that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance [necessary] for forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.”

Then He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy [fully understanding that He lives and that He is the Son of God]; and they were continually in the temple blessing and praising God.’

Luke 24:1-53

So today, is it going to be your day? This is the day that the Lord has made and so are you ready to rejoice and be glad in it? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart today in preparation for celebrating the real meaning of Christmas? Are you ready to start the journey of being new, being forgiven, and being called and led by God today? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Love you! Love you more! Love you most!


Ever gotten into one of those games where you try to express how much you care and it gets upped? Ever had someone or been someone who goes one level more? Going from more to most? More is additional or a higher degree than without more right? Most on the other hand is used when it is the greatest amount or degree. So what does it take to go to the level of more? What would it take to get to the greatest level of most?

Where do you turn to understand the degrees of love? Where do you turn to understand the levels of love? Where do you turn to understand the levels of love? Where do you turn to get started understanding what love is? For me I start with 1 Corinthians 13 where it tells me:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. ‘

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Then to compare the levels of love, I go to the reality that God is love and see what God’s Word has to say about that:

‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. ‘

1 John 4:8

‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. ‘

1 John 4:8-12

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ‘

John 3:16-18.

God is love and gave us an example of true love. So we ought to love one another. We may not be able to love more than God who loves most but we can live our lives learning and leaning in to be able to love more and more. So as we head into the Christmas season when we celebrate the coming of Jesus, let’s decide to live out this holiday season in and with love. Let’s not only look for and expect the gift of love but let’s be people who are giving generously love to the world around us. Let’s both be friends to others but also decide to receive by faith Jesus into our lives and be called friends of God just like Abraham.

‘And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God , and this [faith] was credited to him [by God] as righteousness and as conformity to His will ,” and he was called the friend of God. ‘

James 2:23

THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 23RD


Can’t Love You More


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. ‘

John 15:13

Let’s look to get the context from the additional version and more details through the Amplified version.

‘ “This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends. You are my friends if you keep on doing what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father. You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you. This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another. ‘

John 15:12-17

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Are you just talking the talk but not walking the walk?
  • Are you able to talk the talk and walk the walk?
  • Are you truly committed to your spouse? Do you love them?
  • Are you truly committed to your kids? Do you love them?
  • Are you truly committed to your friends? Do you love them?
  • If we consider that the measure of love as described in today’s verse is sacrifice then what is the level of sacrifice you have or are or will make for them?
  • If we consider that the measure of love as described in today’s verse is sacrifice then how often are you willing to give up your own pleasures in order to meet their’s?
  • If we consider that the measure of love as described in today’s verse is sacrifice then how often are you willing to give up your own comforts in order to meet their’s?
  • If we consider that the measure of love as described in today’s verse is sacrifice then how often are you willing to give up your own desires in order to meet their’s?
  • Do you love them enough to give up your own pleasures, comforts, and desires?
  • Do you love unconditionally?
  • Do you love genuinely?
  • When a test comes during a time of crisis, what does it reveal about the state of your heart and your love for others?
  • Consider soldiers and the commitment, sacrifice, and love they show by being willing to give their lives for one another.
  • Consider all those who have sacrificed their lives for their country, their democracy, their unit but most of all for their friends in the foxhole with them.
  • What about a crisis like chronical illness? What are you able to see through the response of others? Authentic love!
  • Are you able to show authentic love to annoying people by being patient?
  • Are you able to show authentic love to people who habitually and continually offend you by forgiving them?
  • Are you able to show authentic love by speaking the truth rather than just going and hiding?
  • So are you being self-absorbed or self-sacrificing?
  • Selfishness has been something to deal with for a very long time as the Bible teaches us about it. It’s not new! It’s not just something we are having to deal with!
  • Will you be willing to sacrifice even if the other person doesn’t get it?
  • Will you be willing to sacrifice even if the other person doesn’t appreciate it?
  • Will you just choose to live your life to demonstrate God’s love to you, in you, and through you?
  • Will you choose to live your life patiently in the midst of unappreciative and misunderstood people?
  • Will you persevere and allow perseverance to finish its work through the times of trials so that when it finishes its work you will be complete and lacking nothing?
  • Will you live focused on bringing the love of Jesus into the world around you?
  • Will you live your life in order to point people to Jesus and His love and ultimate sacrifice for each of us?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What does authentic love look like to you?
  • In what ways was Christ’s life as much of a sacrifice as His death?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“The greatest enemy of Christianity may be people who say they believe in Jesus but who are no longer astonished and amazed. We have allowed screens to beat our imaginations into submissions and have become tourists rather than travelers. We have been stunted by mediocrity…”

Mike Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 23:

‘Then the whole assembly got up and brought Him before Pilate. They began to accuse Jesus, asserting, “We found this Man misleading and perverting our nation and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and claiming that He Himself is Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), a King.” So Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him, “It is just as you say.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this Man.” But they were insistent and said, “He stirs up the people [to rebel], teaching throughout Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as here [in Jerusalem].” When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that He belonged to the jurisdiction of Herod [Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee], he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly pleased. He had wanted to see Him for a long time because of what he had heard about Him, and was hoping to see some [miraculous] sign [even something spectacular] done by Him. And he questioned Him at some length, but Jesus made no reply. The chief priests and the scribes were standing there, continually accusing Him heatedly. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking and ridiculing Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. Now that very day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other—before this they had been enemies.

Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man before me as one who corrupts and incites the people to rebellion. After examining Him before you, I have found no guilt in this Man regarding the charges which you make against Him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and indeed, He has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore I will punish Him [to teach Him a lesson] and release Him.” [ Now he was obligated to release to them one prisoner at the Feast. ] But they [loudly] shouted out all together, saying, “Away with this Man, and release Barabbas to us!” (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection that happened in the city, and for murder.) Pilate addressed them again, wanting to release Jesus, but they kept shouting out, “Crucify, crucify Him!” A third time he said to them, “Why, what wrong has He done? I have found no guilt [no crime, no offense] in Him demanding death; therefore I will punish Him [to teach Him a lesson] and release Him.” But they were insistent and unrelenting, demanding with loud voices that Jesus be crucified. And their voices began to prevail and accomplish their purpose. Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he handed over Jesus to their will.

When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in [to the city] from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. Following Him was a large crowd of the people, including women who were mourning and wailing for Him. But Jesus, turning toward them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not given birth, and the breasts that have never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be executed with Him.

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing His clothes among themselves. Now the people stood by, watching; but even the rulers ridiculed and sneered at Him, saying, “He saved others [from death]; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) of God, His Chosen One.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him and [cruelly] offering Him sour wine, and sarcastically saying, “If you are [really] the King of the Jews, save Yourself [from death]!” Now there was also an inscription above Him: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” One of the criminals who had been hanged [on a cross beside Him] kept hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us [from death]!” But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? We are suffering justly, because we are getting what we deserve for what we have done; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, [please] remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” Jesus said to him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” It was now about the sixth hour (noon), and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), because the sun was obscured; and the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two [from top to bottom]. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” Having said this, He breathed His last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he began praising and honoring God, saying, “Certainly this Man was innocent.” All the crowds who had gathered for this spectacle, when they saw what had happened, began to return [to their homes], beating their breasts [as a sign of mourning or repentance]. And all His acquaintances and the women who had accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, watching these things.

A man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), a good and honorable man (he had not consented to the Council’s plan and action) a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for and expecting the kingdom of God; this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. And [after receiving permission] he took it down and wrapped it in a linen [burial] cloth and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had yet been laid. It was the day of preparation [for the Sabbath], and the Sabbath was dawning. Now the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed [closely], and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they went back and prepared spices and ointments and sweet-smelling herbs. And on the Sabbath they rested in accordance with the commandment [forbidding work].’

Luke 23:1-56

So where are you at today? Are you loving? Are you feeling the love? Are you loving first? Are you loving more? Are you loving most? Are you ready to receive true and unconditional love from God? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and your life? Are you ready for things to be different? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


How important is being right to you?


Is being right to you more important than keeping a relationship? Is being right to you more important than the final outcome? Is being right to you more important than doing right?

Ever heard that winning doesn’t mean you won? Ever heard that being right doesn’t mean you did right? Ever heard that it is more important to live humbly and ready and willing to defer than to living to always be right? Do you have the courage to relinquish the desire to always be right in order to ensure peace in your relationships? Do you have the boldness to do what is right rather than trying to always be right? Are you more interesting your relationship to be right or to be happy? Are you more interested in being right than reaching shared goals? Are you more interested in being right than being able to learn and grow with one another?

Let’s pause and consider what God’s Word has to tell us before we start today’s devotional:

‘As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ‘

Ephesians 4:1-16

So today are you ready to live a life that will glorify God more than always trying to be right? Are you ready to live a life that shows the desire for unity? Are you ready to live a life that demonstrates maturity? Are you ready to be doing right more than being right? Are you ready to be doing good more than being right? Are you ready to get started down this road?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 22ND


Being Right by Doing Good


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.’

Galatians 6:9-10

Let’s get additional context and more details by grabbing additional verses and using the Amplified version.

‘Brothers, if anyone is caught in any sin, you who are spiritual [that is, you who are responsive to the guidance of the Spirit] are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness [not with a sense of superiority or self-righteousness], keeping a watchful eye on yourself, so that you are not tempted as well. Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]. For if anyone thinks he is something [special] when [in fact] he is nothing [special except in his own eyes], he deceives himself. But each one must carefully scrutinize his own work [examining his actions, attitudes, and behavior], and then he can have the personal satisfaction and inner joy of doing something commendable without comparing himself to another. For every person will have to bear [with patience] his own burden [of faults and shortcomings for which he alone is responsible]. The one who is taught the word [of God] is to share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his spiritual and material support]. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in. So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers). See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. Those who want to make a good impression in public [before the Jews] try to compel you to be circumcised, just so they will escape being persecuted for [faithfulness to] the cross of Christ. For even the circumcised [Jews] themselves do not [really] keep the Law, but they want to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh [that is, in the fact that they convinced you to be circumcised]. But far be it from me to boast [in anything or anyone], except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything [of any importance], nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [which is the result of a new birth—a spiritual transformation—a new nature in Christ Jesus]. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule [who discipline themselves and conduct their lives by this principle], and upon the [true] Israel of God (Jewish believers). From now on let no one trouble me [by making it necessary for me to justify my authority as an apostle, and the absolute truth of the gospel], for I bear on my body the branding-marks of Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me]. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brothers and sisters. Amen.’

Galatians 6:1-18

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever heard someone say something like “no good deed goes unpunished”?
  • Sounds strange right? Ever experienced or seen where it seems to play out?
  • Ever tried to do the right things and have the wrong outcome?
  • Ever tried to do the right things and have it blow up in your face?
  • Ever tried to do the right things and have others get upset with you?
  • Are you more interested in pleasing people or pleasing God?
  • Do you realize that by doing good deeds never backfires with God?
  • Are you more interested in your heavenly rewards than temporary earthly ones?
  • Are you grabbing hold of God’s promise that when we do the right thing to help people He will reward us?
  • What comes to mind when you think about “doing good”?
  • Are you paying enough attention to be able to notice positive things in other people’s lives?
  • Are you ready to do good when you notice that to the point being able to completement and affirm it in their lives?
  • Are you ready to do good by being available to be a good listener when someone needs to talk?
  • Are you ready to do good by speaking in love the truth into someone’s life?
  • Are you ready to do good by confronting someone about their bad behavior or actions?
  • Are you ready to do good by setting aside your personal agenda in preference to helping someone else?
  • How are you ready to do good?
  • When an opportunity to do good comes up will you be ready to respond?
  • When an opportunity to do good comes up will you respond and act?
  • Today you will have at least one opportunity to do good, will you be ready, will you react, will you respond in love and do good?
  • You do realize you are being watched right? What type of a role model are you being?
  • Are you treating your brothers and sisters in Christ in a way that the world will notice and realize how we love one another?
  • Are you loving your brothers and sisters in Christ so that people realize that you aren’t putting on an act but rather are authentically loving others?
  • Are you a doer of the Word rather than just a reader or speaker of the Word and doing lip service?
  • Are you ready to be living a life of doing good so that others will realize that faith in Jesus makes a difference?
  • Will you decide today to live your life doing good works that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish so that both you and other can experience how faith in Jesus makes a difference?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Who are some people you know who are examples of those who do good?
  • What are some things you can do today for others?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“We must first be made good before we can do good. We must first be made just before our works can please God.”

Hugh Latimer

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 22:

‘Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people [who listened devotedly to His teaching, and who respected His spiritual wisdom]. Then Satan entered Judas, the one called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve [disciples]. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him and hand Him over to them. They were delighted and agreed with him to give him money. So he consented, and began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus to them [at a time when He was] separated from the crowd [because the people might riot or stop them from seizing Him]. Then came the preparation day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, so that we may eat it.” They asked Him, “Where do You want us to prepare it?” He replied, “When you have entered the city, a man carrying an earthen jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house that he enters. And say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ Then he will show you a large upstairs room, furnished [with carpets and dining couches]; prepare the meal there.” They left and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

When the hour [for the meal] had come, Jesus reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. He said to them, “I have earnestly wanted to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup, which is poured out for you, is the new covenant [ratified] in My blood. But listen, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe (judgment is coming) to that man by whom He is betrayed and handed over!” And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this.

Now a dispute also arose among them as to which of them was regarded to be the greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not to be this way with you; on the contrary, the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest [and least privileged], and the [one who is the] leader, like the servant. For who is the greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have remained and have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you [the privilege] that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has demanded permission to sift [all of] you like grain; but I have prayed [especially] for you [Peter], that your faith [and confidence in Me] may not fail; and you, once you have turned back again [to Me], strengthen and support your brothers [in the faith].” And Peter said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death!” Jesus said, “I say to you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will [utterly] deny three times that you know Me.” And He said to them, “When I sent you out without a money belt and [provision] bag and [extra] sandals, did you lack anything?” They answered, “Nothing.” Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money belt is to take it along, and also his [provision] bag, and he who has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this [Scripture] which is written must be completed and fulfilled in Me: ‘And He was counted with the criminals’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment [and is settled].” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

And He came out and went, as was His habit, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed Him. When He arrived at the place [called Gethsemane], He said to them, “Pray continually that you may not fall into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” Now an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony [deeply distressed and anguished; almost to the point of death], He prayed more intently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down on the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not fall into temptation.”

While He was still speaking, a crowd came, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve [disciples], was leading the way for them. He approached Jesus to kiss Him. And Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When those who were around Him saw what was about to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus replied, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched the ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders [of the Sanhedrin] who had come out against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? Day after day when I was with you in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power and authority of darkness are yours.”

Then they seized Him, and led Him away and brought Him to the [elegant] house of the [Jewish] high priest. And Peter was following at a [safe] distance. After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him!” A little later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, “This man was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed]. Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking and ridiculing Him [and treating Him with contempt] and beating Him. They blindfolded Him and asked, “Prophesy, who is it that struck You?” And they were saying many other [evil and slanderous] things against Him, blaspheming [speaking sacrilegiously and abusively about] Him.

When day came, the Council of the elders of the people (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court) assembled, both chief priests and scribes; and they led Jesus away to the council chamber, saying, “If You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe [what I say], and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” He replied, “ It is just as you say.” Then they asked, “What further need of testimony do we have? For we ourselves have heard it from His own mouth.”’

Luke 22:1-71

So where are you at today? Do you know right from wrong? Do you have a non-changing definition for right vs wrong? Are you ready to be more interested in doing good than being right? Are you ready to be more interested in learning and building a relationship with God? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and life today? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Do you know your purpose? your mission? your raison d’être?


Why are you here? What is your reason for being? What is the purpose you are to fulfill? What is your mission to accomplish?

raison d'être
[ˌrāzôn ˈdetrə]
NOUN
raison d'être (noun) · raisons d'être (plural noun)
the most important reason or purpose for someone or something's existence.
"an institution whose raison d'être is public service broadcasting"
synonyms:
responsibility · duty · concern · province · aim · activity · assignment · obligation · charge · task · chore · job · role · errand · mission · detail · undertaking · commission · capacity · post · situation · office · occupation · employment · business · operation · line of country
ORIGIN
French, literally ‘reason for being’.
Definition of raison d’être by Oxford Languages · Bing Translator

mission
[ˈmiSHən]
NOUN
mission (noun) · missions (plural noun)
an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel.
"a trade mission to Mexico"
synonyms:
assignment · commission · expedition · journey · trip · errand · undertaking · operation · task · job · labor · work · chore · business · duty · charge · trust · message
a group of people sent on a mission.
"by then, the mission had journeyed more than 3,500 miles"
synonyms:
delegation · deputation · commission · task force · legation · representation · delegacy
an organization or institution involved in a long-term assignment in a foreign country.
"the head of the West German mission"
an operation carried out by military aircraft.
"he was shot down on a supply mission"
synonyms:
sortie · operation · raid
an expedition into space.
"NASA has approved a mission to investigate the atmosphere of Mars"
synonyms:
journey · voyage · tour · odyssey · undertaking · enterprise · project · quest · operation · commission · assignment · exploit · exploration · safari · trek · hike · survey · peregrination
the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.
"the Christian mission" · "Gandhi's attitude to mission and conversion"
synonyms:
vocation · calling · pursuit · goal · aim · quest · undertaking · purpose · function
a building or group of buildings used by a Christian mission.
synonyms:
mission post · mission station · missionary organization
a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.
"his main mission in life has been to cut unemployment"
synonyms:
aim · goal · purpose · objective · object · grail · holy grail · target · intention · intent · design · motive · aspiration · wish · desire · ambition · raison d'être
ORIGIN
mid 16th century (denoting the sending of the Holy Spirit into the world): from Latin missio(n-), from mittere ‘send’.
Definition of Mission by Oxford Languages · Bing Translator

purpose
[ˈpərpəs]
NOUN
purpose (noun) · purposes (plural noun)
the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
"the purpose of the meeting is to appoint a trustee" · "the building is no longer needed for its original purpose"
synonyms:
motive · motivation · grounds · cause · impetus · occasion · reason · point · basis · justification · intention · aim · object · objective · goal · end · plan · scheme · target · ambition · aspiration · desire · wish · hope · advantage · benefit · good · use · usefulness · value · merit · worth · gain · profit · avail · result · outcome · effect · behoof · boot · function · role · raison d'être
a person's sense of resolve or determination.
"there was a new sense of purpose in her step as she set off"
synonyms:
determination · resoluteness · resolution · resolve · firmness (of purpose) · steadfastness · backbone · drive · push · thrust · enthusiasm · ambition · initiative · enterprise · motivation · single-mindedness · commitment · conviction · dedication
(purposes)
a particular requirement or consideration, typically one that is temporary or restricted in scope or extent.
"pensions are considered as earned income for tax purposes"
VERB
formal
purpose (verb) · purposes (third person present) · purposed (past tense) · purposed (past participle) · purposing (present participle)
have as one's intention or objective.
"God has allowed suffering, even purposed it"
synonyms:
intend · mean · aim · plan · design · have the intention · have in mind · have a mind · decide · resolve · determine · propose · have plans · set out · aspire · desire · want · wish · expect · hope · set one's sights on · have in view · contemplate · think of
ORIGIN
Middle English: from Old French porpos, from the verb porposer, variant of proposer (see propose).
Definition of Purpose by Oxford Languages · Bing Translator

Are you living a purpose-driven life? Have you searched for, sought, asked what your purpose is, and gotten an answer? Have you received a call and answered it and started to pursue it? As 2021 is coming to a close, I had read a book through this pandemic time which got me searching and seeking and wondering what my calling, purpose, mission, and reason for being was. It was interesting as it brought me back to when I had to get my priorities straight and make sure I was living my priorities? It was interesting as what came to me was being a dad. It was being a dad for my 3 kids. It was serving kids in the foster care system through camps where there was a need to help dads be the dads their kids need. It went from me being the dad to a larger calling of looking to help others so that we can be the dads that God created us to be, that our wives need us to be, and that our kids need us to be. When the aha of this mission kicked in I started to search and see if there might be a name available for such a mission, such a cause, such a purpose, such a reason for being and I found that bethedads was available and so I picked up many domains as I prepare to step up and step into this mission that God has given me. God has started to give me ideas and plans to get going like starting small groups for dads to come together, prison ministries for dads who made decisions that took them away from their kids but need to still be the dads God created them to be, and even the possibility of starting to go out into the schools and traveling to different locations to help encourage and motive dads and boys and men that we need to take a hold of the calling on our lives to be the dads God created us to be so that our kids and wives and society have the men they need. Going into 2022 the question of who are you going to be? Going into 2022 the focus for me in my devotionals and extracurricular times will be around being the dad. I will be looking to post daily from various devotionals about dads. I will be looking to put together resources for dads to use be it in small groups at churches, small groups in prisons, small groups in schools, and even in and through presentations to men around the country and around the world.

So what about you? Why are you here? What is your reason for being? What is the purpose you are to fulfill? What is your mission to accomplish?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 21ST


Christ’s Mission


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.’

John 3:17

Let’s get more details and context for this by expanding the verses to check out the surrounding verses as well as using the Amplified version.

‘Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (member of the Sanhedrin) among the Jews, who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), we know [without any doubt] that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs [these wonders, these attesting miracles] that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh [the physical is merely physical], and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I have told you, ‘You must be born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be possible? ” Jesus replied, “You are the [great and well-known] teacher of Israel, and yet you do not know nor understand these things [from Scripture]? I assure you and most solemnly say to you, we speak only of what we [absolutely] know and testify about what we have [actually] seen [as eyewitnesses]; and [still] you [reject our evidence and] do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things [that is, things that happen right here on earth] and you do not believe, how will you believe and trust Me if I tell you heavenly things? No one has gone up into heaven, but there is One who came down from heaven, the Son of Man [Himself—whose home is in heaven]. Just as Moses lifted up the [bronze] serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life [after physical death, and will actually live forever]. “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him]. This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned. But whoever practices truth [and does what is right—morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].” ‘

John 3:1-21

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • What image comes to mind when you think of God?
  • Do you see Him as a loving and gracious God?
  • Do you see Him as a mean school teacher?
  • Do you see Him as someone who gives you second chances?
  • Do you see Him as someone who demands perfection?
  • Do you see Him as someone who doesn’t want anyone to perish?
  • Do you see Him as someone who delights in punishing us?
  • Do you see Him as someone with high standards?
  • Do you see Him as someone with demands that we live up to high standards?
  • Do you live your life with hope?
  • Do you live your life without hope?
  • Do you live your life with hope that you can do better?
  • Do you live your life with little hope that you will be able to do better?
  • Do you see yourself succeeding?
  • Do you see yourself failing?
  • Do you see yourself being rewarded and given credit for your good works?
  • Do you see yourself getting blasted again for having missed the mark?
  • When you want to know and understand who God is you just need to look to Jesus!
  • Jesus shattered the false narrative and image of God!
  • Jesus shattered the false narrative and image of God’s heart!
  • Jesus shattered the false narrative and image of God’s delight!
  • Jesus shattered the false narrative and image of God’s passion!
  • God is love!
  • God is light and there is no darkness in Him!
  • Jesus shows us how God came out of heaven in order to reveal His love for us!
  • Jesus shows us how God came out of heaven in order to show the world that He loves them!
  • Jesus moved towards the people that the world condemned!
  • Jesus showed grace to those who were being condemned!
  • Jesus touched the untouchables!
  • Jesus healed the sick!
  • Jesus befriended the friendless!
  • Jesus stopped to give attention to the ignored and forgotten!
  • Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but rather that through Him we can be saved!
  • Jesus could be and was tough at times but that was usually in speaking to those who condemend the poor and the oppressed and the needy!
  • Jesus would get upset when people tried to get in the way of God’s desire to rescue people!
  • Jesus would get upset when people tried to get in the way of God’s desire to redeem people!
  • Jesus would get upset when people tried to get in the way of God’s desire to restore the borken people!
  • Jesus’ love was real, it was more than a feeling, it was lived out in actions!
  • Jesus loved and took initiative to engage people!
  • Jesus loved and went physically to places that needed Him physically!
  • Jesus loved and went physically to places that needed Him spiritually!
  • Jesus loved and went physically to places to engage people where He could make a difference in their lives!
  • Jesus isn’t a mean school teacher but rather a loving parent!
  • Jesus isn’t a mean school teacher but rather a dearest friend!
  • So let’s choose to invite Jesus into our lives!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Why do you think many people see God as harsh and condemning?
  • What would (or does) it mean in your life to see Him as loving, kind, and active in His grace towards you?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“I can’t understand how God could love us so much that two thousand years before we were born He sent His Son into the world to die on the cross for the sins we were going to commit. But just because I don’t understand that love doesn’t mean I can’t accept it.”

Zig Ziglar

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 21:

‘Looking up, He saw the rich people putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in [proportionally] more than all of them; for they all put in gifts from their abundance; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” As some were talking about the temple, that it was decorated with beautiful stones and consecrated offerings [of magnificent gifts of gold which were displayed on the walls and hung in the porticoes], He said, “As for all these things which you see, the time will come when there will not be one stone left on another that will not be torn down.” They asked Him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to happen?” He said, “Be careful and see to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name [appropriating for themselves the name Messiah which belongs to Me alone], saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and disturbances [civil unrest, revolts, uprisings], do not panic; for these things must take place first, but the end will not come immediately.”

Then Jesus told them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be violent earthquakes, and in various places famines and [deadly and devastating] pestilences (plagues, epidemics); and there will be terrible sights and great signs from heaven. “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, turning you over to the synagogues and prisons, and bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. This will be a time and an opportunity for you to testify [about Me]. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you [skillful] words and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed and handed over even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be continually hated by everyone because of [your association with] My name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your [patient] endurance [empowered by the Holy Spirit] you will gain your souls. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by [hostile] armies, then understand [with confident assurance] that her complete destruction is near. At that time, those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are inside the city (Jerusalem) must get out, and those who are [out] in the country must not enter the city; for these are days of vengeance [of rendering full justice or satisfaction], so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Woe to those women who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For great trouble and anguish will be on the land, and wrath and retribution on this people [Israel]. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (completed).

“There will be signs (attesting miracles) in the sun and moon and stars; and on the earth [there will be] distress and anguish among nations, in perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea and the waves, people fainting from fear and expectation of the [dreadful] things coming on the world; for the [very] powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with [transcendent, overwhelming] power [subduing the nations] and with great glory. Now when these things begin to occur, stand tall and lift up your heads [in joy], because [suffering ends as] your redemption is drawing near.”

Then He told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put out leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is near. So you too, when you see these things happening, know [without any doubt] that the kingdom of God is near. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this generation [those living at that definite period of time preceding the second coming] will not pass away until everything takes place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. “But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who live on the face of all the earth. But keep alert at all times [be attentive and ready], praying that you may have the strength and ability [to be found worthy and] to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man [at His coming].” Now in the daytime Jesus was teaching in [the porches and courts of] the temple, but at night He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people would come to Him in the temple to listen to Him.’

Luke 21:1-38

So where are you at? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart? Are you ready to allow Him to lead and guide the rest of your life? Are you ready to accept the calling? Are you ready to accept the purpose? Are you ready to accept the reason you were put on this earth? We were all created on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose! So let’s accept the gift of grace and forgiveness of God through receiving Jesus into our hearts and lives. Let’s make today count! Let’s allow today to be the beginning of something amazing. Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Do you have to see it to believe or do you have to believe it to see it?


Would you have to have seen it to believe it? Are there things you have never seen and yet still believe? What is it that makes you believe without having seen it? Was it a credible witness? Was it the volume of evidence? Was it the source of the information?

Would you believe something without seeing it first? What made it so? What caused you to believe without needing to see it? Was it the source? Was it the evidence? Was it the witness?

Do you find it easier to believe after seeing it? Have you ever had a hard time believing what you were seeing? Ever seen magic tricks? Ever seen illusions? Ever seen science experiments? Ever seen trick photography? Ever seen edited videos? How do you know what you can believe? How do you know you can trust what you have seen? Are there things easier to believe without seeing?

Do you believe in the wind even though you can’t see it? Do you believe in gravity even though you can’t see it? Do you believe in love even though you can’t see it? Do you believe in hate even though you can’t see it? Do you believe in hot and cold even though you can’t see it? Why?

Are there things you haven’t seen and yet believe are or will be possible? Are there things you haven’t seen and yet believe will happen? Are there things you haven’t seen and yet believe have already happened somewhere? Do you have faith in God? Do you believe there is a devil? Do you believe in life after death? Do you believe there is a heaven and hell? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe He is coming back? Do you believe natural disasters exist? Do you believe that wars exist? What do you believe? Faith is the antidote of fear!

So as we head into the Christmas season, what is it that you believe?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 20TH


Believing Is Seeing


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘For we walk by faith, not by sight. ‘

II Corinthians 5:7

Let’s get more details and context for this statement by expanding upon this verse and using the Amplified version.

‘For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling, so that by putting it on we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection]. Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise]. So then, being always filled with good courage and confident hope, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]— we are [as I was saying] of good courage and confident hope, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth] or away from home [and with Him], it is our [constant] ambition to be pleasing to Him. For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities]. Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord [and understand the importance of obedience and worship], we persuade people [to be reconciled to Him]. But we are plainly known to God [He knows everything about us]; and I hope that we are plainly known also in your consciences [your God-given discernment]. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but are giving you an occasion to be [rightfully] proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in [outward] appearances [the virtues they pretend to have] rather than what is [actually] in heart. If we are out of our mind [just unstable fanatics as some critics say], it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for your benefit. For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake. So from now on we regard no one from a human point of view [according to worldly standards and values]. Though we have known Christ from a human point of view, now we no longer know Him in this way . Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God]. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].’

2 Corinthians 5:1-21

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you believe God’s Word?
  • Do you believe God’s character?
  • Do you believe God’s promises?
  • Do you believe God’s plans?
  • Do you believe God’s purposes?
  • Do you have faith in God?
  • Do you have faith in God’s trustworthiness?
  • Do you have faith in God’s perfect timing?
  • Do you believe that our earthly bodies will be destroyed and we will receive new heavenly bodies that are strong, healthy and beautiful?
    • ‘For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. ‘
      2 Corinthians 5:1-8
  • Are you sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you building your relationship with God and drawing closer to God?
  • Are you giving more and more attention to what the Holy Spirit leads and guides you to do?
  • Are you listening to the still quiet voice, the whisper of the Holy Spirit or does it require a big booming voice to get your attention and obedience?
  • Are you moving forward by the nudges of the Holy Spirit as He tries to lead and guide you?
  • Are you noticing how your faith is growing to enable you to move out of obedience to God’s will and plan and purpose?
  • Have you received your downpayment for the future and guarantee from God of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you being limited by living a life that is directed by your 5 natural senses?
  • Are you living your life limited by the natural senses and keeping yourself from being able to experience the supernatural world that God has for you by not being sensitive and responding the the whispers and nudges of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you living by what you can’t see, feel, or hear?
  • Are you living by faith?
  • Are you living in the spiritual world rather than the natural by living by faith rather than by sight?
  • Are you living in the spiritual world rather than the natural by living by faith rather than by feelings?
  • Are you living a life focused on God’s promises rather than the promises of this world?
  • Are you living a life focused on God’s promises rather than the illusions of this world?
  • Are you ready to start paying more attention to the things of God, the ways of God, and the Spirit of God?
  • Are you ready to start growing more spiritually mature by paying more attention to the things of God, the ways of God, and the Spirit of God?
  • Are you ready to start growing more spiritually mature by trusting God and His Word and the prompting and nudges of His Spirit?
  • Will you take God at His Word or are you like Thomas who needed to see it to believe it?
    • ‘Now Thomas (also known as Didymus ), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” ‘
      John 20:24-25
  • How would or will you feel when Jesus shows up in your life face to face and because of your needing to see to believe confronts you like He did to Thomas?
    • ‘A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ‘
      John 20:26-29
  • Will you believe without needing to see?
  • Will you have faith in Jesus?
  • Is your faith growing or has grown to the point where you are starting to see the unseen movement of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual realm?
  • Is your faith growing or has it grown to the point where you are starting to hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit?
  • Is your faith growing or has it grown to the point where you are starting to feel the nudges of the Holy Spirit?
  • Has the spiritual realm become real to you yet?
  • Has the spiritual realm become as real as what you can touch, tast, smell, hear, and see?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How much are you like Thomas, needing to see to believe?
  • What are some of the most important of God’s promises to you?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Sight is not faith, and hearing is not faith, neither is feeling faith; but believing when we neither see, hear, nor feel is faith; and everywhere the Bible tells us our salvation is to be by faith. Therefore we must believe before we feel, and often against our feelings, if we would honor faith.

Hannah Whitall Smith

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 20:

‘On one of the days, as Jesus was instructing the people in the temple [area] and preaching the good news (gospel), the chief priests and the scribes along with the elders confronted Him, and said to Him, “Tell us by what kind of authority You are doing these things? Or who is the one who gave You this authority?” Jesus replied, “I will also ask you a question. You tell Me: The baptism of John [the Baptist]— was it from heaven [that is, ordained by God] or from men?” They discussed and debated it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are firmly convinced that John was a prophet.” So they replied that they did not know from where it came. Then Jesus said to them, “Nor am I telling you by what [kind of] authority I do these things.”

Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey for a long time [to another country]. At harvest time he sent a servant [as his representative] to the tenants, so that they would give him his share of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat the servant and sent him away empty-handed. So he again sent another servant; they also beat him and dishonored and treated him disgracefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third; and this one too they wounded and threw out [of the vineyard]. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will have respect for him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves, saying, ‘This [man] is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw the son out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and put these tenants to death and will give the vineyard to others.” When the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders heard this, they said, “May it never be!” But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is [the meaning of] this that is written: ‘The [very] Stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief Cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken and shattered in pieces; and on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”

The scribes and the chief priests tried to [find a way to] arrest Him at that very hour, but they were afraid of the people; because they understood that He spoke this parable against them. So they watched [for a chance to trap] Him. They sent spies who pretended to be upright and sincere, in order that they might catch Him in some statement [that they could distort and use against Him], so that they could turn Him over to the control and authority of [Pilate] the governor. They asked Him, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and that You show no partiality to anyone, but teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful [according to Jewish law and tradition] for us to pay taxes (tribute money) to Caesar or not?” But He saw through their trickery and said to them, “Show Me a [Roman] denarius. Whose image and inscription does the coin have?” They answered, “[the Emperor Tiberius] Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” They were not able to seize on anything He said in the presence of the people; and being unnerved at His reply, they were silent.

Now some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Him and they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us [a law that] if a man’s brother dies , leaving a wife and no children , his brother should marry the wife and raise children for his brother . Now there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and died childless. And the second, and the third married her, and in the same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman also died. So in the [life after] resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had married her.” Jesus said to them, “The sons of this [world and present] age marry and [the women] are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy to gain that [other world and that future] age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; and they cannot die again, because they are [immortal] like the angels (equal to, angel-like). And they are children of God, being participants in the resurrection. But [as for the fact] that the dead are raised [from death], even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, when he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living [so these forefathers will be among the resurrected]; for all live [in a definite relationship] to Him.” Some of the scribes replied, “Teacher, you have spoken well [so that there is no room for blame].” And they did not dare to question Him further about anything [because of the wisdom He displayed in His answers]. Then He said to them, “How is it that people say that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘The Lord (the Father) said to my Lord (the Son, the Messiah), “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ’ So David calls Him (the Son) ‘Lord,’ and how then is He David’s son?” And with all the people listening, He said to His disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes [displaying their prominence], and love respectful greetings in the [crowded] market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. These [men] who confiscate and devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense [to appear devout] offer long prayers. These [men] will receive the greater [sentence of] condemnation.”’

Luke 20:1-47

So where are you today? What do you believe? Do you have faith? Are you ready to believe without feeling it? Are you ready to believe without seeing it? Are you ready to believe without hearing it? Are you ready to take God’s Word for what it’s worth? Are you ready to invite God into your heart? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


How many facts and evidence would it take to convince you?


How many facts would it take to convince you that something is true? How much evidence would it take to convince you that something is true? What if it was thousands of years of facts and evidence, would that convince you that something is true? What if it was spoken of by every prophet of old, would that convince you that something is true? What would it take for you to believe? Would you have to see something or someone with your own eyes like Thomas?

‘Now Thomas (also known as Didymus ), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ‘

John 20:24-29

Do you celebrate Christmas? What do you believe about Christmas? Why do you celebrate Christmas? How do you celebrate Christmas? Do you give and receive gifts? Why? Do you connect it to everyone who brought Mary, Joseph, and Jesus gifts? If you do celebrate Christmas then what do you believe? If you don’t celebrate Christmas then what do you believe? What would it take to convince you to believe?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 19TH


The Son Of God


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ‘

John 1:1-2

Let’s get more details and context by grabbing a few more verses and using the Amplified version.

‘In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ( Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. ‘

John 1:1-5

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever considered what John is saying and how he is introducing us to Jesus?
  • Ever considered how John speaks to the uniqueness and greatness of Jesus?
  • Ever considered the life of Jesus from born as a baby in a manger, growing up in a carpenter’s shop, taught and healed people, died on the cross as the sinless lamb and martyr for God outside of Jerusalem?
  • Ever considered how He was flesh and blood and yet He was from Heaven, God incarnate?
  • Ever considered how far back time goes?
  • Ever considered how the more we know the more we don’t know and how science continues to explore and find new and additional information to point to it going way back?
  • Ever considered the size and vastness of the universe?
  • Imagine having gotten to be around before the creation and seeing everything from then until now.
  • Some like to think in this information age that we have or have nearly figured everything out.
  • Ever noticed how new things get discovered?
  • Ever noticed how some things that were “scientifically proven” get disproved or altered?
  • Ever noticed how God never changes?
  • Ever noticed or contemplated the wonders of God?
    • the wonder of God becoming man
    • the mystery of how it all comes together
    • the amazing nature around us
  • Have you taken hold of the amazement?
  • Is your faith stronger and more resilient because of the amazement?
  • God goes beyond our imagination
    • ‘Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, ‘
      Ephesians 3:20
  • God loves us so much more than we could fully grasp
    • ‘ “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him]. ‘
      John 3:16-18
  • God is so patient just as true love is patient.
    • ‘Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ‘
      2 Peter 3:8-9
  • The Son of God is truly amazing! He came to give us the hope of Christmas! He came to give us the hope of forgiveness and love through the cross! He is coming again and so let’s make sure we will be ready!
    • ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish with a [mighty and thunderous] roar, and the [material] elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are on it will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be [in the meantime] in holy behavior [that is, in a pattern of daily life that sets you apart as a believer] and in godliness [displaying profound reverence toward our awesome God], [while you earnestly] look for and await the coming of the day of God. For on this day the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the [material] elements will melt with intense heat! But in accordance with His promise we expectantly await new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. ‘
      2 Peter 3:10-13

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How does thinking about Christliving in eternity past stretch your faith?
  • Are Christ’s greatness and goodness amazing to you? Why or why not?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshippers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose.”

John Piper

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 19:

‘Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector [a superintendent to whom others reported], and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, but he could not see because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran on ahead [of the crowd] and climbed up in a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus reached the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So Zaccheus hurried and came down, and welcomed Jesus with joy. When the people saw it, they all began muttering [in discontent], “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a [notorious] sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “See, Lord, I am [now] giving half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will give back four times as much.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household, because he, too, is a [ spiritual] son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they assumed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately [as soon as He reached the city]. So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to obtain for himself a kingdom, and [then] to return. So he called ten of his servants, and gave them ten minas [one apiece, each equal to about a hundred days’ wages] and said to them, ‘Do business [with this] until I return.’ But his citizens [the residents of his new kingdom] hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to be a king over us.’ When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these servants, to whom he had given the money, be called to him, that he might find out what business they had done. The first one came before him and said, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten more minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you proved yourself faithful and trustworthy in a very little thing, you shall [now] have authority over ten cities [in my kingdom].’ The second one came and said, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him also, ‘And you shall take charge over five cities.’ Then another came and said, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I have kept laid up in a handkerchief [for safekeeping]. I was [always] afraid of you, because you are a stern man; you pick up what you did not lay down and you reap what you did not sow.’ He said to the servant, ‘I will judge and condemn you by your own words, you worthless servant! Did you [really] know that I was a stern man, picking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not [at the very least] put my money in a bank? Then on my return, I would have collected it with interest.’ Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas already!’ [Jesus explained,] ‘I tell you that to everyone who has [because he valued his gifts from God and has used them wisely], more will be given; but from the one who does not have [because he disregarded his gifts from God], even what he has will be taken away.’ [The king ended by saying,] ‘But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence.’ ”

After saying these things, Jesus went on ahead [of them], going up to Jerusalem. When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a [donkey’s] colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anybody asks you, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ you will say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” So those who were sent left and found the colt just as He had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their robes over the colt and put Jesus on it. As He rode along, people were spreading their coats on the road [as an act of homage before a king]. As soon as He was approaching [Jerusalem], near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the entire multitude of the disciples [all those who were or claimed to be His followers] began praising God [adoring Him enthusiastically and] joyfully with loud voices for all the miracles and works of power that they had seen, shouting, “Blessed (celebrated, praised) is the King who comes in the name of the Lord ! Peace in heaven and glory (majesty, splendor) in the highest [heaven]!” Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples [for shouting these Messianic praises].” Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these [people] keep silent, the stones will cry out [in praise]!” As He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it [and the spiritual ignorance of its people], saying, “If [only] you had known on this day [of salvation], even you, the things which make for peace [and on which peace depends]! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For a time [of siege] is coming when your enemies will put up a barricade [with pointed stakes] against you, and surround you [with armies] and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground, you [Jerusalem] and your children within you. They will not leave in you one stone on another, all because you did not [come progressively to] recognize [from observation and personal experience] the time of your visitation [when God was gracious toward you and offered you salvation].”

Jesus went into the temple [enclosure] and began driving out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a robbers’ den.” He was teaching day after day in the temple [porches and courts]; but the chief priests and scribes and the leading men among the people were seeking [a way] to put Him to death, and they could not find anything that they could do, for all the people [stayed close to Him and] were hanging on to every word He said.’

Luke 19:1-48

So where are you at today? Are you a believer or in need of convincing? Are you a follower or in need of facts? Are you seeking evidence or are you convinced? Do you need to meet a witness or be a witness in order to be convinced? Do you need to see it to believe it? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


What do you believe?


There have been many songs over the years with the words “I believe I can” in them. What do you believe?

There is the song I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly. There is the song “I Believe” by Elvis Presley. There is the song “Every Day Is Exactly The Same” by Nine Inch Nails. There is the song I Believe by Hillsong. There are many versions or people who sang the song I believe I can fly, but does it make it so? What do you believe?

What is your source of truth? Do you trust “the science”? Do you trust “the system”? Do you trust “the politicians”? Or do you have a source of truth that never changes over time? Do you believe in absolutes? Do you believe in absolute truth? Do you believe in the afterlife? Do you believe what God put into the Bible?

You might be asking, “what do you mean by believe?” Well, let’s take a look at the definition of believe:

believe
[bəˈlēv]
VERB
believe (verb) · believes (third person present) · believed (past tense) · believed (past participle) · believing (present participle)
accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.
"the superintendent believed Lancaster's story" · "Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead"
synonyms:
be convinced by · trust · have confidence in · consider honest · consider truthful · regard as true · accept as true · accept · give credence to · credit · give credit to · put confidence in · count on · rely on · depend on
antonyms:
disbelieve
accept the statement of (someone) as true.
"he didn't believe her or didn't want to know"
have faith, especially religious faith.
"there are those on the fringes of the Church who do not really believe"
synonyms:
devout · pious · reverent · believing · godly · God-fearing · dutiful · saintly · holy · prayerful · churchgoing · practicing · faithful · devoted · committed
antonyms:
atheistic · irreverent
(believe something of someone)
feel sure that someone is capable of doing something.
"I wouldn't have believed it of Lois—what an extraordinary woman!"
hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose.
"I believe we've already met" · "the deal is believed to be worth around $15 million" · "things were not as bad as the experts believed" · "humu-humu are, I believe, shrimp fritters"
synonyms:
think · be of the opinion that · think it likely that · have an idea that · imagine · feel · have a feeling · hold · maintain · suspect · suppose · assume · presume · conjecture · surmise · postulate that · theorize that · conclude · come to the conclusion that · deduce · understand · be given to understand · take it · gather · fancy · guess · dare say · figure · ween
antonyms:
doubt
ORIGIN
late Old English belȳfan, belēfan, alteration of gelēfan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch geloven and German glauben, also to lief.
Definition of Believe – Powered by Oxford Languages · Bing Translator

So do you believe or are you filled with disbelief? Do you believe or are you irreverent? Do you believe or do you doubt? Do you want to believe and need God’s help to help you with your unbelief like the boy’s father?

‘When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. ” ‘

Mark 9:14-29

So where are you at today? Do you believe? What do you believe? Do you want to believe? What would it take for you to believe? Are you believing in something that will last? Are you believing in something that won’t change? Are you believing in something you can build your life on? Are you believing in something that will transform not only the rest of your life but also your afterlife? What do you believe? Do you believe enough that it has become faith?  Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Do you realize the possibilities that come with belief? Do you realize what is possible when we have faith in God? Do you realize what is possible when believe and trust in Jesus? Are you ready to start the incredible journey of “all things are possible for those who believe“?

‘Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!” ‘

Mark 9:23

THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 18TH


Do you believe?


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”’

Mark 9:23-24

We looked at today’s verse to get additional context earlier but let’s use the Amplified version to see if that can bring us more details.

‘When they came [back] to the [other nine] disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and scribes questioning and arguing with them. Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Jesus, they were startled and began running up to greet Him. He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” One of the crowd replied to Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him [intending to do harm], it throws him down, and he foams [at the mouth], and grinds his teeth and becomes stiff. I told Your disciples to drive it out, and they could not do it.” He replied, “O unbelieving (faithless) generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” They brought the boy to Him. When the [demonic] spirit saw Him, immediately it threw the boy into a convulsion, and falling to the ground he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he answered, “Since childhood. The demon has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!” Immediately the father of the boy cried out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief.” When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering [around them], He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again!” After screaming out and throwing him into a terrible convulsion, it came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse [so still and pale] that many [of the spectators] said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he stood up. When He had gone indoors, His disciples began asking Him privately, “Why were we unable to drive it out?” He replied to them, “This kind [of unclean spirit] cannot come out by anything but prayer [to the Father].” ‘

Mark 9:14-29

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Are you facing a challenge today?
  • Are you facing a struggle today?
  • Are you facing a situation today?
  • Do you have the faith to invite Jesus into that challenge, struggle, or situation?
  • Are you struggling to muster the faith to ask Jesus like the father in today’s reading?
  • Are you wondering if God can do anything about your challenge, struggle, or situation? like today’s reading?
  • Are you ready to ask God to help build your faith in Him?
  • Are you ready to ask God to help your unbelief?
  • Are you ready to believe and trust Jesus in your challenge, struggle, or situation?
  • Are you ready to grab hold of the reality that with Jesus all things are possible?
  • Are you ready to go beyond the limits of your faith and into the limitlessness of God?
  • So what will it take for you to believe? Are you a Thomas who said you won’t believe it till you see it? Are you a Thomos who once he saw Jesus didn’t need to put his finger into the holes in His hands or hand in His side but fell believing?
    • ‘But Thomas, one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Didymus (the twin), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.” ‘
      John 20:24-25
    • ‘Eight days later His disciples were again inside the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors had been barred, and stood among them and said, “Peace to you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but [stop doubting and] believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, do you now believe? Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, and favored by God] are they who did not see [Me] and yet believed [in Me].” ‘
      John 20:26-29
  • Struggling to have enough faith? Follow the example of today’s verse and be like the Father who asked Jesus for more faith.
  • Let’s be honest about it and humble ourselves and ask God to give us more faith to believe.
  • Jesus will give us more faith through a flash of insight or a long process.
  • Jesus will answer our prayer to build our faith! Faith to trust Him through long processes. Faith to trust Him for a miracle.
  • If we are strugglling with our faith, let’s be honest about it and admit that our faith is flawed and needs God’s hand to help and heal it, and ask Him for help.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Describe a time when you felt like the man in this story.
  • Do you need God to build your faith so that you can trust Him for something significant? Explain your answer.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that assures the successful outcome of any venture.”

— William James
Featured in: William James Quotes

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 18:

‘Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and had no respect for man. There was a [desperate] widow in that city and she kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice and legal protection from my adversary.’ For a time he would not; but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will give her justice and legal protection; otherwise by continually coming she [will be an intolerable annoyance and she] will wear me out.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says! And will not [our just] God defend and avenge His elect [His chosen ones] who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [in providing justice] on their behalf? I tell you that He will defend and avenge them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?”

He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [posing outwardly as upright and in right standing with God], and who viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood [ostentatiously] and began praying to himself [in a self-righteous way, saying]: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—swindlers, unjust (dishonest), adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but was striking his chest [in humility and repentance], saying, ‘God, be merciful and gracious to me, the [especially wicked] sinner [that I am]!’ I tell you, this man went to his home justified [forgiven of the guilt of sin and placed in right standing with God] rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself [forsaking self-righteous pride] will be exalted.” Now they were also bringing their babies to Him, so that He would touch and bless them, and when the disciples noticed it, they began reprimanding them. But Jesus called them to Himself, saying [to the apostles], “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God [with faith and humility] like a child will not enter it at all.”

A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’ ” He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How difficult it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth or status] to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “ Then who can be saved?” But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Peter said, “Look, we have left all [things—homes, families, businesses] and followed You.” And He said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much in this present age and in the age to come, eternal life.” Then taking the twelve [disciples] aside, He said to them, “Listen carefully: we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that have been written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled and completed. He will be betrayed and handed over to the Gentiles (Roman authorities), and will be mocked and ridiculed and insulted and abused and spit on, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and on the third day He will rise [from the dead].” But the disciples understood none of these things [about the approaching death and resurrection of Jesus]. This statement was hidden from them, and they did not grasp the [meaning of the] things that were said [by Jesus].

As He was approaching Jericho [on His way to Jerusalem], it happened that a blind man was sitting beside the road begging. Now when he heard a crowd going by, he began to ask what this was [about]. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” So he shouted out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” Those who were leading the way were sternly telling him to keep quiet; but he screamed all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that the blind man be led to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me regain my sight!” Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight; your [personal trust and confident] faith [in Me] has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus, glorifying and praising and honoring God. And all the people, when they saw it, praised God.’

Luke 18:1-43

So where are you at today? What do you believe? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe enough to have invited Jesus into your heart and life? Could today be the start of that journey of faith with Jesus? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


When someone asks you what season this is, what do you say?


Do you think seasons of the year like winter, spring, summer, or fall? Do you think seasons like what holidays are taking place like Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day, Easter, Independence Day, National Holidays, etc.? Do you think of the season of giving? Do you think a season to sow? Do you think a season to reap? Do you think a season to live?

What context or what location or what person will cause you to give your answer? Does it matter who asks? Does it matter where they ask? Does it matter how they ask? Does it matter what the situation currently is when they ask?

Let’s consider the seasons that are spoken of in the Bible:

  • ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there. I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” ‘
    Ecclesiastes 3:1-21
  • He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
    Daniel 2:21
  • While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
    Genesis 8:22
  • And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
    Galatians 6:9
  • He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
    Acts 1:7
  • He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
    Psalm 104:19
  • He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
    Psalm 1:3
  • And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,
    Genesis 1:14
  • “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
    Isaiah 55:10-11
  • Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.
    1 Thessalonians 5:1
  • “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.
    Matthew 24:32
  • Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
    2 Timothy 4:2
  • For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.
    Song of Solomon 2:11-13
  • Check out more scriptures about seasons here: https://www.openbible.info/topics/seasons

What season is it for you? Are you seeing the signs of the times? Are you living for the season you are currently in? Are you being generous in the midst of your season? Are you ready for the season? As we celebrate the first coming of Jesus with Christmas are you ready for His second coming?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 17TH


Giving Is Living


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”’

Acts 20:35

Let’s look into the context of this and try to get some additional details through the Amplified version.

‘However, from Miletus he sent word to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the church [to meet him there]. And when they arrived he said to them: “ You know well how I [lived when I] was with you, from the first day that I set foot in Asia [until now], serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and trials which came on me because of the plots of the Jews [against me]; [you know] how I did not shrink back in fear from telling you anything that was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public meetings, and from house to house, solemnly [and wholeheartedly] testifying to both Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance to God and [to have] faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [for salvation]. And now, compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me. But I do not consider my life as something of value or dear to me, so that I may [with joy] finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify faithfully of the good news of God’s [precious, undeserved] grace [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life]. “And now, listen carefully: I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see me again. For that reason I testify to you on this [our parting] day that I am innocent of the blood of all people. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God. Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood. I know that after I am gone, [false teachers like] ferocious wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; even from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse and distorted things, to draw away the disciples after themselves [as their followers]. Therefore be continually alert, remembering that for three years, night or day, I did not stop admonishing and advising each one [of you] with tears. And now I commend you to God [placing you in His protective, loving care] and [I commend you] to the word of His grace [the counsel and promises of His unmerited favor]. His grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance among all those who are sanctified [that is, among those who are set apart for God’s purpose—all believers]. I had no desire for anyone’s silver or gold or [expensive] clothes. You know personally that these hands ministered to my own needs [working in manual labor] and to [those of] the people who were with me. In everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive.’ ” When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And they began to weep openly and threw their arms around Paul’s neck, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving and distressed especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see him again. And they accompanied him to the ship.’

Acts 20:17-38

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever considered what living life in this season Jesus’s way would do to the world around you?
  • Ever considered how Jesus changed the world by the way He chose to live His life?
  • Ever considered how Jesus changed the world by the message He shared to the world around Him?
  • Our human nature seems to conflict with how Jesus calls us to live.
  • Want to be great? Then you need to serve others.
  • Want to raise to great heights? Then you need to be humble and live in humility.
  • Want to be first? Then you need to let others go ahead of you and be last.
  • Want to be significant in the kingdom of God? Then you need to become like children and live with the faith of a child.
  • Want to be filled up? Then you need to be giving and be generous.
  • So we need to stop being so focused on ourselves and be more focused on others.
  • Not to compare or contrast but to serve, the give, and to love.
  • Take a look around or maybe just in the mirror and check out how much selfishness is taking place in this world.
  • Selfishness isn’t for a specific type of person but unfornately selfishness transcends time, race, and societies.
  • Remember how we are to be good stewards?
  • Remember how to whom much is given much is required?
  • Instead of letting the ads tell us what we are missing or lacking, let’s be filled with joy related to all that we have!
  • As we consider going into Christmas, rather than consumerism let’s be focused on Jesus, the birth of a savior, the reality of what His coming brought to this world, and the incredible joy and peace we have by having a relationship with Him and knowing He is coming back.
  • Let’s decide to live out lives open handed so that God can use us as conduits for His resources to better love and serve others.
  • Let’s draw closer to Jesus for our contentment and fulfillment rather than believing the ads that this or that product or service will do the trick.
  • Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts since He fills the void forever and as He spoke we will thirst no more, whereas the temporary filling of the void with stuff fades away over time and eventually causes us to thirst again.
  • So today lets choose to really live by really giving into the lives of others!
  • Let’s give that we can find heartfelt fulfillment!
  • Let’s give that we can experience the greatest thrills of our lives!
  • Let’s give that we can pour into the lives of others who may never be able to repay us.
  • Let’s give not expecting anything in return!
  • Let’s give to the weak!
  • Let’s give to the poor!
  • Let’s give to the sick!
  • Let’s be selfless by not expecting anything in return!
  • Let’s be generous!
  • Let’s live out our lives like our Heavenly Father who has given to us, blessed us, and offers us so much more than this world could ever offer!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What act of giving or service has brought you the most joy?
  • In what way is it really “more blessed” to give than receive?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.

— Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson QuotesSamuel Johnson Biography

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 17:

‘Jesus said to His disciples, “Stumbling blocks [temptations and traps set to lure one to sin] are sure to come, but woe (judgment is coming) to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] were hung around his neck and he were hurled into the sea, than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble [in sin and lose faith]. Pay attention and always be on guard [looking out for one another]! If your brother sins and disregards God’s precepts, solemnly warn him; and if he repents and changes, forgive him. Even if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him [that is, give up resentment and consider the offense recalled and annulled].” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith [our ability to confidently trust in God and in His power].” And the Lord said, “If you have [confident, abiding] faith in God [even as small] as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree [which has very strong roots], ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea’; and [if the request was in agreement with the will of God] it would have obeyed you. “Which of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat?’ Will he not instead say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and appropriately clothe yourself [for service] and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you may eat and drink?’ He does not thank the servant just because he did what he was ordered to do, does he? So you too, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants [undeserving of praise or a reward, for we have not gone beyond our obligation]; we have merely done what we ought to do.’ ”

While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health.” Now having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed or with a visible display; nor will people say, ‘Look! Here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For the kingdom of God is among you [because of My presence].”

Then He said to the disciples, “The time will come when you will long to see [even] one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look [the Messiah is] there!’ or ‘Look [He is] here!’ Do not go away [to see Him], and do not run after them. For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, gives light to the other part of the sky, so [visible] will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be repudiated and rejected and considered unfit [to be the Messiah] by this [unbelieving] generation. And just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the time of [the second coming of] the Son of Man: the people were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, [they were indifferent to God] until the day that Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as it was in the days of Lot. People were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building [carrying on business as usual, without regard for their sins]; but on the [very] day that Lot left Sodom it rained fire and brimstone (burning sulfur) from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, whoever is on the housetop, with his belongings in the house, must not come down [and go inside] to take them out; and likewise whoever is in the field must not turn back. Remember [what happened to] Lot’s wife [when she looked back]! Whoever seeks to save his life will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] will keep it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. I tell you, on that night [when Messiah comes again] there will be two [sleeping] in one bed; the one (the non-believer) will be taken [away in judgment] and the other (the believer) will be left. There will be two women grinding [at the mill] together; the one (the non-believer) will be taken [away in judgment] and the other (the believer) will be left. [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”] And they asked Him, “Where, Lord?” He answered, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will be gathered.”’

Luke 17:1-37

So where are you at today? What season of life are you living? What season of life are you ready for? What season of life are you seeing before you? What season of life is behind you? Are you living a season of giving? Are you living a season of forgiving? Are you living a season of thanksgiving? Are you looking for a way to be able to even consider any of these? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life to help you get through the season you are currently living in? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Ever gotten a message from someone checking in because you came to mind?


It is interesting to me the things that have happed and the lives that have been touched or changed when the Spirit prompts me to check in on people. Some people may get a message on SLACK. Some people may get a message on LinkedIn. Some people may get a text message. Not matter the tool used, something happened to cause me to feel prompted to reach out and check in. It’s interesting how even the words that get used make a difference and sometimes have foreshadowed what the situation going on is. Be it family struggles. Be it health struggles. Be it work struggles. Be it that everything is going great. Be it that they are moving on from the company. Be it that they are conflicted in what they should do. Be it that they were having a rough day and this was a message of hope that turned their day around. Be it that they receive it as a way of knowing someone cares. Be it they questioned what have I heard. God has had a plan in each case. God has needed those people to know they aren’t alone and that someone cares. God has needed those people to know they haven’t been forgotten.

So when God prompts you to check in on someone do you do it? When God puts a name in your mind or on your heart do you reach out and check-in? Why? or Why not? Are you thinking life is too busy? Are you thinking they are fine, I don’t need to bother them? Are you thinking they are too busy? Do you realize that God has put them in your mind or on your heart for a reason? We may never know because they may say everything is fine even if it isn’t. We may never know there was something going on but they will because you might have been the sign they were praying for to show they weren’t alone and that someone actually cares.

So today if someone comes to mind, how will you respond? So if God puts someone on your heart, how will you respond? Will you choose to be the hands reaching out? Will choose to be the arms embracing? Will you choose to be the feet going? Could today be a day that changes things for you and for them? Why not try to make today a Happy Today for both of you?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 16TH


Moved By The Spirit


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.’

II Peter 1:20-21

Let’s look for extra context for this as well as more detail by using the Amplified version .

‘For we did not follow cleverly devised stories or myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty [His grandeur, His authority, His sovereignty]. For when He was invested with honor and [the radiance of the Shekinah] glory from God the Father, such a voice as this came to Him from the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], “This is My Son, My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased and delighted”— and we [actually] heard this voice made from heaven when we were together with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the morning star arises in your hearts. But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.’

2 Peter 1:16-21

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you read God’s Word?
  • Why do you ready God’s Word?
  • What expectations do you have in reading God’s Word?
  • When you read God’s Word are you doing it like it is an old book, old news, and not interesting?
  • When you read God’s Word are you doing it with excitement because you believe it is alive and speaks into your today? I do.
  • Are you reading a translation that is too hard to understand and so you feel like it is old and outdated?
  • Are you reading a translation that allows you to be in that moment and see how it applies today?
  • Are you reading it and finding how it isn’t some old dusty book but is a book that is important and relevant today?
  • Do you realize that the Bible, although written long ago in a farming society, is a book for all cultures at all times?
  • Do you realize that the Bible applies even in the digital era?
  • Do you realize that the Bible is a love letter from our Heavenly Father?
  • Do you realize that the truths found in the Bible are the most challenging, the most dramatic, the most comforting the world has ever seen or known?
  • Are you paying enough attention to find your mind being blown or your socks being blown off by its power when you read the Bible?
  • We need to grasp that all the words in the Bible were God inspired.
  • We need to take hold of the reality that across all of the people who wrote the words that make up the Bible, all were lead and directed by God’s Spirit.
  • Every writer of the Bible was prompted, guided, and inspired to write God’s message!
  • Every writer wrote for people of all time!
  • Have you gone through all the promises captured in the Bible from God?
  • Have you gone through all the Bible and captured the truth of God’s grace and forgiveness?
  • Have you gone through all the Bible and captured the truth of God’s cleansing power that can touch even the worst sinners?
  • Have you gone through all the truth of the Bible and grabbed hold of how God will give you the Holy Spirit to be with you always and provide the power we need through His comforting, directing, and teaching?
  • Have you captured the words of hope and encouragement in your times of doubt?
  • Have you captured the words of forgiveness to help get you out from under the pressures and weight of guilt?
  • Have you found guidance and gone with it because of God’s Word in those moments when you don’t know where to go?
  • Are you ready on that day when you close your eyes here on earth for the last time to find yourself in Heaven with God, seeing for the first time the place He has prepared in advance for you as He has described in His Word?
  • So are you ready for God to speak to the heart of the matter?
  • Are you ready for God to speak to your heart?
  • Are you ready for God to work in and through your heart into this hurting world?
  • Are you ready to be God’s hands extended to build and create relationships?
  • Are you ready for hope through God and His Word?
  • Are you ready for hope through following God and His Word and His Spirit?
  • Do all of these things get you interested in going and jumping into God’s Word found in the Bible?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • When you read the Bible, what are your expectations? Explain your answer.
  • Since every word was written under the leadership of the Spirit, what would (or should) your expectations be?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Nobody ever outgrows the Scriptures; the Book widens and deepens with our yearts.”

— Charles Haddon Spurgeon

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 16:

‘Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”’

Luke 16:1-31

So where are you at today? Are you being prompted by the Spirit? Are you being called by the Spirit? Are you feeling the tug on your heart from God? Are you are you feeling the leading or directing of your words, thoughts, or actions by the Holy Spirit? Are you ready to step up, step out, or even step into someone else’s life because God wants or needs you to? Are you ready to receive someone God sent to speak to you and into your life today? Are you ready to receive God into your heart and live a transformed life from this moment forward? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


What would you do or How would you choose to live your life if you had someone with all the answers available?


So imagine this, you have someone in your life who is able to give you the right advice for every situation. What would you do? Would you reach out regularly to make sure you make the right decision? Would you try to go it on your own and use them as a fallback? Would you only turn to them for advice when you got to the end of your rope? Would you only turn to them when you were in trouble?

So imagine this, you have someone in your life who is able and willing to give you the right advice for every situation. How would you choose to live your life? Would you choose to stay in close and regular contact with them? Would you look to build a strong and intimate relationship with them? Would you be in constant contact and connection with them to ensure you are making the right choices? Would you be their friend or would you treat them more like a genie to rescue you in tough or trying times? Would you be their friend where you share everything with them because you know they love you so much that they are ready and willing to share with you? Would you only reach out when you are in trouble? Would you only turn to them when you couldn’t figure it out on your own? Would you try to be self-reliant rather than joining forces with them?

So you have a guidance counselor. Remember back in school they had people with that title? Did you ever go see them? Did you ever ask them for advice? Did you ever make a routine of it? I don’t remember going to see my high school guidance counselor more than a couple times in all my years of high school. I don’t remember going to see my university guidance counselor more than a couple times in all my years of university and co-op. I remember hearing of friends who did but that wasn’t my way. As I consider their roles and responsibilities and today’s theme, I wonder if anything would have been different in the decisions I made over all those years had I used them for the purpose and availability they had.

Guidance counselors:

Looking up guidance counselors you find information like:

Guidance Counselors are professionals who work in schools or other educational institutions providing academic, personal and career advice to students. They work to examine and assess any potential or skills students may have and communicate this to them to help boost their self-esteem and wellbeing. Guidance Counselors typically conduct either group or individual counseling sessions with students to learn about any social or academic challenges the student is facing and provide advice to help them succeed at school or in their personal lives.  As they speak with students during each session, the Guidance Counselor identifies any behavioral problem and societal or cultural issues that may be negatively impacting the child’s personal or social life.

Looking up skills and qualifications for a guidance counselor I found:

Considering how much is expected of a Guidance Counselor, there are extensive skills and qualifications candidates need. While there are many interpersonal and academic skills required that may be different depending on the school or district, the following skills and qualifications are the most important to consider when crafting an effective job description:

So knowing their roles and responsibilities, does that change the thought about how you would interact with them? So knowing their skills and qualifications, does that change the thought about how you would interact with them?

So if you had someone who is able to give you the right advice for every situation, what would you do? So if you had someone who is able to give you the right advice for every situation, how would you choose to live your life?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 15TH


The World’s Best Guidance Counselor


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. ‘

John 16:13

Knowing this, does it make you consider how you might want to connect and stay connected with the Holy Spirit throughout the day rather than every now and then? Let’s look for more context and details using the Amplified version and some surrounding text.

‘ “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [and taken complete possession of them]. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment: about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see Me; about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear [to hear] them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future]. He will glorify and honor Me, because He (the Holy Spirit) will take from what is Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Because of this I said that He [the Spirit] will take from what is Mine and will reveal it to you. ‘

John 16:5-15

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Some interesting questions come as today’s devotional starts like:
    • “If you had immediate and continuous access to the brightest mind in your field, would you use that resource?”
    • “Would you call that person to ask for insight serveral times a day, or would you think, No, I’d better just call once a week for about five minutes; that’s enough?”
  • Would it matter if they were the brightest mind and also had the biggest and most loving heart?
  • Would knowing how much they love you change how you would decide to interact with them?
  • The fact, the reality, the truth is that the brightest mind and most loving heart in the universe s on call 24/7 for every believer. So how will you respond? choose? decide?
  • Today’s verse we learn how Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth”.
  • The Holy Spirit is who directed the writers of the Bible.
  • The Holy Spirit is who directed the writers to capture what was going on in their moment in time so that we would have this information available to us today.
  • The Holy Spirit knows it all and is available all the time to help us with our decisions.
  • The Holy Spirit came when Jesus returned to sit at the right hand of the Father to be our comforter and our guide.
  • We are still not alone because God is with us. So knowing He is with you, does that change your thoughts about inviting Him into every situation? Does it change your thoughts about seeking His advice?
  • Are you ready to apply God’s truth into every situation by inviting and talking through your situation with the Holy Spirit?
  • There is no better guidance counselor than the Holy Spirit!
  • Do you value the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you pursue the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you ask Him questions throughout your day?
  • Do you wait on Him to provide you with answers?
  • Are you too busy to pursue?
  • Are you too busy to ask?
  • Are you too busy to wait?
  • If you had one of the greatest minds offer to give you a day to answer all the questions on his topic wouldn’t you prepare and get ready in order to make the most of that day? Wouldn’t you then look to absorb as much as you possibly could in that day?
  • What if it was Warren Buffet offering you advice on investing?
  • What if it was Elon Musk offering you advice on inovating?
  • What if it was the CEO of a company? What if it was a leader of one of the world’s most powerful countries?
  • As you consider those situations, will you consider leaning in and asking of the Holy Spirit and getting His advice througout your day? week? month? year? life?
  • He is available 24/7/365(6 for leap years) a year. We have access to God through the Holy Spirit and it is up to us to decide if we will receive, accept, use this access to build a stronger relationship with God and live a life that will bring God praise, honor, and glory!
  • So will you prepare your heart and value Him?
  • Will you prepare the questions to be able to get to the root of the issues?
  • Will you wait and listen intently as He provides you with the wisdom and discernment?
  • Will you listen to the scriptures He brings to mind to help us understand what is going on?
  • Will you get quiet enough to hear the still quiet voice?
  • Will you be obeident to His prompting and answers?
  • Are you ready to become wise by valuing and listening to the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you wanting to risk the consequences of not valuing and not listening?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you treat the Holy Spirit like you’d treat the best mind in your field? Explain your answer.
  • How can you value Him more? What difference will it make?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.”

― George Müller

As we continue through December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kicked off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters so that we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 15:

‘Now all the tax collectors and sinners [including non-observant Jews] were coming near Jesus to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began muttering and complaining, saying, “This man accepts and welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable: “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost, [searching] until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he gets home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins [each one equal to a day’s wages] and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her [women] friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I found the lost coin!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents [that is, changes his inner self—his old way of thinking, regrets past sins, lives his life in a way that proves repentance; and seeks God’s purpose for his life].”

Then He said, “A certain man had two sons. The younger of them [inappropriately] said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.’ So he divided the estate between them. A few days later, the younger son gathered together everything [that he had] and traveled to a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and immoral living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to do without and be in need. So he went and forced himself on one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He would have gladly eaten the [carob] pods that the pigs were eating [but they could not satisfy his hunger], and no one was giving anything to him. But when he [finally] came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough food, while I am dying here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] treat me like one of your hired men.” ’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe [for the guest of honor] and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand, and sandals for his feet. And bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let us [invite everyone and] feast and celebrate; for this son of mine was [as good as] dead and is alive again; he was lost and has been found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field; and when he returned and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. So he summoned one of the servants and began asking what this [celebration] meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But the elder brother became angry and deeply resentful and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he said to his father, ‘Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never neglected or disobeyed your command. Yet you have never given me [so much as] a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this [other] son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you slaughtered that fattened calf for him!’ The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was [as good as] dead and has begun to live. He was lost and has been found.’ ”’

Luke 15:1-32

So where are you at today? Are you trying to go it alone or are you inviting God into your situation? Are you trying to push through it alone or are you inviting God into the situation? Are you trying to figure it out on your own or are you inviting God into the situation? Why not invite Jesus into your heart? Why not be in constant conversation with the Holy Spirit? Why not live out the rest of your life differently and better than the past in a way that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


What does a background check get you? What else would they find if they searched your heart?


Ever had to get a background check? When you volunteer? When you want to join or become something? When you want to serve kids? When you want to serve teens? When you want to mentor? When you want a job? When you want to become a citizen?

Ever noticed the different levels of background checks? Ever noticed the different types of background checks? You give them information and then they go searching. You give them information and fingerprints and then they go searching. Imagine if someone was doing your background check and they used all of these types:

  • Criminal History Check
  • Prior Employment Verification
  • Education Verification
  • Reference Check
  • Drug Screening
  • Sexual Offender Registry Check
  • Credit Background Check
  • Social Media & Internet Check
  • Driving Record
  • Professional License & Certificate Confirmation
  • Social Security Number Trace

But would they be able to find out about what is going on in your heart and mind? If someone were to try and do a check of your heart and mind would any red flags come up that would need to get addressed or that would potentially disqualify you? In general people are searching for external evidence but God searches the heart.

  • ‘But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ‘
    1 Samuel 16:7
  • ‘For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” ‘
  • 2 Chronicles 16:9
  • ‘Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you the desires of your heart. ‘
    Psalms 37:4
  • ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. ‘
    Psalms 51:10
  • ‘Test me, Lord , and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. ‘
    Psalms 26:2-3
  • ‘You have searched me, Lord , and you know me. ‘
    Psalms 139:1
  • ‘Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. ‘
    Psalms 139:23
  • ‘See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’
    Psalms 139:24
  • ‘“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” ‘
    Jeremiah 17:10

So have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you invited Him into your heart to help get things fixed up and cleaned up and then to help with the regular maintenance work? Do you realize that when God helps you to clean up your heart that it doesn’t leave a background or stains? Are you ready to allow God to create a new, clean heart in you? Are you ready to give your broken heart over to God so that He can put it back together and give you a new clean heart?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 14TH


He Searches Hearts


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.’

Romans 8:27

Let’s dig in a bit to get the context of what is being said and then look for additional details through the Amplified version.

‘For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us! For [even the whole] creation [all nature] waits eagerly for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration and futility, not willingly [because of some intentional fault on its part], but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will also be freed from its bondage to decay [and gain entrance] into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been moaning together as in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only this, but we too, who have the first fruits of the Spirit [a joyful indication of the blessings to come], even we groan inwardly, as we wait eagerly for [the sign of] our adoption as sons—the redemption and transformation of our body [at the resurrection]. For in this hope we were saved [by faith]. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure.

In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified [declared free of the guilt of sin]; and those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity]. What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us? He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect (His chosen ones)? It is God who justifies us [declaring us blameless and putting us in a right relationship with Himself]. Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more than that, who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us. Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Just as it is written and forever remains written, “For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter .” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

Romans 8:18-39

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Remember how yesterday how the Holy Spirit can pray for us even when we don’t have the words to speak? Ever been at a loss for words?
  • As we looked into the expanded details of today’s verse we find that God has even more encouragement as it relates to our heart. The Holy Spirit is able to pray in alignment with God’s will with the complete and total knowledge of every detail of our lives, even the deepest and darkest parts of our heart.
  • God is omniscient and knows everything.
  • God knows us better than we know ourselves and has great plans for us so that we can have a hope and a future. Are you ready to receive and accept that?
  • The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit are one. So they are in constant and complete agreement.
  • So when the Holy Spirit prays it is in alignment to God’s perfect will and plan for us.
  • Do you understand God’s will for you life? Do you like to think you understand God’s will for the life of others too?
  • God’s spelled out many aspects of God’s divine direction in His Word.
  • Even so there are many times (probably even more than we’d like to admit) where our desires and God’s will may not be in alignment and could get in the way of God’s will for us to have life and life to the full or more abundantly.
  • So let’s not get trapped by the ways of the world and the desires of the world but instead look to God to help us live our lives to the full and in all the abundance He desires for us.
  • Sure we look to have fun, excitement, happiness, and wealth but would that be enough? Look around and see all the people who seem to have it all and yet don’t have God in their lives and end up getting into trouble or traps of the devil.
  • So instead of going after material things, let’s turn to God and pursue His perfect plan for our life.
  • Let’s lean and trust in Him rather than our own understanding!
  • Let’s lean on Him when things get tough so that we can take heart and even consider pure joy.
  • Let’s turn to God to get wisdom and discernment for our situation.
  • Let’s cry out to God to get wisdom and discernment for our situation.
  • Let’s be bold and courageous when we step out to do what God is calling us to do in faith and knowing we are walking under the protection of His wings.
  • Let’s not allow a difficult or confusing situation rob us!
  • Let’s decide to invite God into our situation to be able to give us wisdom and discernment in the midst of the difficulties and confusion.
  • Let’s receive that wisdom and discernment so that whether God takes us out of the situation, walks us through the situation, or takes us around the situation His perfect will be done.
  • Let’s receive that wisdom and discernment so that we come out the other side with a valuable lesson.
  • Let’s grab a hold of how when the Holy Spirit prays for us He is praying at this higher, deeper level so that we can have richer lessons in this life we live.
  • Let’s decide today to pray in alignment to the Holy Spirit and God’s will for our life.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are some ways we might confuse our wants with God’s will?
  • Does it comfort you or disturb you that the Father searches your heart? Explain your answer.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“God always answers our prayers according to our good and His glory.”

— Ike Reighard

As we move into December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kick off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters which means we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 14:

‘It happened one Sabbath, when He went for a meal at the house of one of the ruling Pharisees, that they were watching Him closely and carefully [hoping to entrap Him]. And there in front of Him was a man who had dropsy (extreme swelling). And Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they kept silent. Then He took hold of the man and healed him, and sent him on his way. Then He said to them, “Which one of you, having a son or an ox that falls into a well, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they were unable to reply to this.

Now Jesus began telling a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been selecting the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down [to eat] at the place of honor, since a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by the host, and he who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your place,’ and then, in disgrace you proceed to take the last place. But when you are invited, go and sit down [to eat] at the last place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; and then you will be honored in the presence of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled [before others], and he who habitually humbles himself (keeps a realistic self-view) will be exalted.” Jesus also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or wealthy neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (the just, the upright).” When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

But Jesus said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many guests; and at the dinner hour he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have purchased a piece of land and I have to go out and see it; please consider me excused.’ Another one said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have [recently] married a wife, and for that reason I am unable to come.’ So the servant came back and reported this to his master. Then [his master,] the head of the household, became angry [at the rejections of his invitation] and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame.’ And the servant [after returning] said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ Then the master told the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled [with guests]. For I tell you, not one of those who were invited [and declined] will taste my dinner.’ ”

Now large crowds were going along with Jesus; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]— he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a watchtower [for his guards], does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is unable to finish [the building], all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else [if he feels he is not powerful enough], while the other [king] is still a far distance away, he sends an envoy and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not [carefully consider the cost and then for My sake] give up all his own possessions. “Therefore, salt is good; but if salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.”’

Luke 14:1-35

So where are you today? Are you in need of heart healing? Are you in need of a heart repair? Are you in need of a heart cleaning? Are you in need of a heart recreation? Are you in need of a heart resurrection? Are you in need of a heart transfer? Are you in need of a heart creation? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and your life to make it a reality? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Ever been at a loss for words?


Ever been in a situation where you didn’t have the words to speak? Ever been in a situation where you didn’t have the words to respond? Ever been in a situation where you didn’t have the words to answer? What did you do?

Who were you talking to when it happened? Is there a trend when certain people, certain classifications of people, certain roles or titles of people talk to you that you can’t speak? Is it in one-on-one situations? Is it in crowd situations? Is it during presentations? Is it during online chats or conversations? What did you do?

What goes through your mind? What happens to your heart? What happens to your gut? How did you or will you get over it or through it?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 13TH


When You Don’t Know How To Pray


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. ‘

Romans 8:26

Let’s expand on this to get context for what we are being told and look for some extra details by using the Amplified version.

‘For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us! For [even the whole] creation [all nature] waits eagerly for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration and futility, not willingly [because of some intentional fault on its part], but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will also be freed from its bondage to decay [and gain entrance] into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been moaning together as in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only this, but we too, who have the first fruits of the Spirit [a joyful indication of the blessings to come], even we groan inwardly, as we wait eagerly for [the sign of] our adoption as sons—the redemption and transformation of our body [at the resurrection]. For in this hope we were saved [by faith]. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure.

In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified [declared free of the guilt of sin]; and those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity]. What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us? He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect (His chosen ones)? It is God who justifies us [declaring us blameless and putting us in a right relationship with Himself]. Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more than that, who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us. Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Just as it is written and forever remains written, “For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter .” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

Romans 8:18-39

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • When I look back and consider my grandmother, I realize she prayed for me.
  • She got to spend so much time with us babysitting and saw the good, the bad, and the ugly sides and yet I am sure she prayed through it all.
  • Today’s verse tells us of another who is praying for us, the Holy Spirit.
  • Today’s verse tells us not only that He is praying for us but even when we don’t have the words to pray, He is praying for us in our own sighs and growns for the situation.
  • God loves us so much that He has the Holy Spirit praying for us.
  • The Holy Spirit is always praying for us.
  • He prays in the midst of us struggling to find words to use in our own prayers.
  • He prays for us, for our marriages, for our families, and even for our work.
  • He prays for us when we have a clear or cloudy mind.
  • He prays for us when we are feeling good or struggling with something.
  • When we know we need God’s intervention but can’t come up with the words, the Holy Spirit prays for us.
  • When we are feeling lost, empty, or helpless, the Holy Spirit is praying for us.
  • The Holy Spirit knows us better than we know ourselves and as such is able to pray for the very situation we find ourselves in.
  • In the midst of not knowing how to pray or what to pray, the Holy Spirit brings our needs to the Father’s throne of grace.
  • The Holy Spirit doesn’t have glib prayers but rather one that is filled with passion, intensity, and deep concern for our wellfare.
  • The Holy Spirit doesn’t have meaningless prayers but rather one that is filled with passion, intensity, and deep concern for our wellfare.
  • The Holy Spirit doesn’t have rambling prayers but rather one that is filled with passion, intensity, and deep concern for our wellfare.
  • We may only see or hear groans or sighs but the Holy Spirit is praying.
  • Not sure what to do? Ask the Holy Spirit!
  • Not sure what to say? Ask the Holy Spirit!
  • Not sure how to or what to pray? Ask the Holy Spirit!
  • Do you know or have a good idea of God’s plan for you so that you can make good decisions and have good interactions with others?
  • The Holy Spirit is praying with us.
  • Do you have days when you have no idea or clue what God’s plan is for the day?
  • The Holy Spirit is praying for us.
  • He can give us wisdom and discernment into what we can pray!
  • He can pray for us when we are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Feel encouraged as you start your today because you have an Advocate who is the Holy Spirit in the midst of every situation.
  • He is our advocate in the midst of difficult situations and decisions.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How does it encourage you to know that the Spirit prays for you?
  • Is there any situation right now that baffles you and you don’t know how to pray about it? Thank the Holy Spirit for His prayers and love.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“To the individual believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit there is granted the direct impression of the Spirit of God on the spirit of man, imparting the knowledge of His will in matters of the smallest and greatest importance. This has to be sought and waited for.”

— G. Campbell Morgan

As we move into December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kick off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters which means we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 13:

‘Just at that time some people came who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate [the governor] had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus replied to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans because they have suffered in this way? I tell you, no; but unless you repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways and live changed lives], you will all likewise perish. Or do you assume that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed were worse sinners than all the others who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways and live changed lives], you will all likewise perish.”

Then He began telling them this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree that had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it, but did not find any; so he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and have found none. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground [depleting the soil and blocking the sunlight]?’ But he replied to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, [just] one more year until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit after this, fine; but if not, cut it down.’ ”

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had an illness caused by a spirit (demon). She was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are released from your illness.” Then He laid His hands on her; and immediately she stood erect again and she began glorifying and praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work ought to be done; so come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord replied to him, “You hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders)! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead it away to water it? And this woman, a daughter (descendant) of Abraham whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As He was saying this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things that were being done by Him.

So this led Him to say, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky found shelter and nested in its branches.” And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three peck measures of flour until it was all leavened.”

Jesus journeyed on through cities and villages, teaching and making His way toward Jerusalem. And someone asked Him, “Lord, will only a few be saved [from the penalties of the last judgment]?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door [force aside unbelief and the attractions of sin]; for many, I tell you, will try to enter [by their own works] and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and closes the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door [again and again], saying, ‘Lord, open to us!’ then He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you are from [for you are not of My household].’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; but He will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers!’ In that place there will be weeping [in sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [in distress and anger] when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out and driven away. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and they will sit down [and feast at the table] in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” At that very hour some Pharisees came up and said to Him, “Leave and go away from here, because Herod [Antipas] wants to kill You.” And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox [that sly, cowardly man], ‘Listen carefully: I cast out demons and perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I reach My goal.’ Nevertheless I must travel on today and tomorrow and the day after that—for it cannot be that a prophet would die outside of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones [to death] those [messengers] who are sent to her [by God]! How often I have wanted to gather your children together [around Me], just as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were not willing! Listen carefully: your house is left to you desolate [abandoned by God and destitute of His protection]; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed [to be celebrated with praise] is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”’

Luke 13:1-35

So where are you today? Do you have the words you need? Do you know how to get or find the words that are needed for the situation? Are you ready to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment, words and direction, help and instruction? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart so that you will never be alone and will always have the Holy Spirit with you? Are you ready to be ready? Are you ready to get started? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


2019, 2020, 2021, … What comes to mind? Time of stress or stress-free?


What causes stress for you? Where do you turn to try and relieve stress? What do you do to try and relieve stress? How do you try and relieve stress? Who can you go to or turn to in order to try and relieve stress? When is it time to try and relieve stress?

Over the years I have seen much change. Over the years it seemed like some people thought it would be a change of jobs and hence we see the great resignation. Over the years it seemed like some people thought it would be isolating themselves. Over the years it seemed that some people have discovered keeping healthy boundaries in the midst of having to work from home raises concerns, issues, and stress. Over the years many have lost jobs because of mandates and regulations. Over the years many have lost jobs because the businesses have been forced to shut down. Over the years some have grabbed hold of government money and are now having to also deal with inflation and expectations of higher-paying jobs no matter the job. Companies struggle to find people. Companies struggle to retain people. Companies will need to determine how will they consider and address this going forward. With fewer people in the workforce or willing to work does it or will it trigger additional automation and a bigger shortage? Consider the Amazon stores where there aren’t people checking you out or welcoming you in and things just happen as you add/remove items from your cart and whatever is in the cart when you leave gets charged to you. What kind of jobs will require people to do them? What kinds of jobs will require people to go back to them? What kinds of jobs will be lost forever?

STRESS… Is it a verb or noun when you think about it?

Ever realized how much stress is in the world? Ever realized what stress is? Ever considered what the alternatives are? Do you realize that stress is hard for scientists to deal with because it tends to be subjective? Ever considered that different people measure stress differently and that if we can’t measure stress that it can also be hard to manage it? Do you realize that stress is caused by change? 2019, 2020, 2021, … have been filled to overflowing with changes globally.

Do you realize there is a tipping point for stress where it goes from healthy to unhealthy?

https://www.stress.org/what-is-stress#:~:text=stress%20can%20be,before%20you%20are.
Stress can be helpful and good when it motivates people to accomplish more.
 As illustrated to the left, increased stress results in increased productivity – up to a point, after which things go rapidly downhill. However, that point or peak differs for each of us, so you need to be sensitive to the early warning symptoms and signs that suggest a stress overload is starting to push you over the hump. Such signals also differ for each of us and can be so subtle that they are often ignored until it is too late. Not infrequently, others are aware that you may be headed for trouble before you are.

Stress can be caused by physical stimuli. Stress can be caused by emotional stimuli. Stress can cause ulcers. Stress can cause shrinkage of lymphoid tissue like lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, adenoids, and other structures. Stress can cause enlargement of adrenals which then impact the body’s ability to keep a healthy metabolism. Persistent stress can cause heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. We can only take so much stress and strain. Stress can be measured by the wear and tear on the body. Before we jump to the definitions, let’s consider the differences between Stress and Strain:

Parameters of ComparisonStressStrain
DefinitionStress is a force and is defined as the repelling force to a unit area of the object or deforming and restoring force per unit area.The Strain is the variation in the shape of an object per the original shape or the deformation per unit area.
Unit of measurementStress has two main categories one is tensile, and another is compressive stress. The measuring unit of Stress is N/m2 (SI).There are two main types of Strain normal strain and shear strain. It has no unit of measurement.
DependenceStress does not depend on Strain as it can exist without Strain.Strain only happens when there is Stress, or it only happens when Stress is applied to an object.
TypesThe various sorts of Stress are tensile, compressive, and shear stress.Strain is categorized into tensile, compressive, shear, and volumetric strain.
Symbol and FormulaStress is designated by the Greek symbol sigma, and the formula for Stress is represented by Stress =force/ Cross-sectional area or σ= F/A.Strain is symbolized by ‘ε,’ that is epsilon, and the formula is given by: ε= dt/t.
https://askanydifference.com/difference-between-stress-and-strain/

We will start with what our human nature or definitions tell us before we turn to God and His Word to find a way to get stress relief.

Definition of Stress found in https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stress:

stress

noun

\ ˈstres  \

Essential Meaning of stress

  1. a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
    — She uses meditation as a way of reducing/relieving stress.
    — Hormones are released into the body in response to emotional stress.
    — He needs help with stress management. [=ways to deal with stress]
  2. something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
    — I’m sorry for being grumpy. I’ve been under (a lot of) stress at work lately.
    — She is dealing with the stresses of working full-time and going to school.
    — He talked about the stresses and strains of owning a business.
  3. physical force or pressure
    — Carrying a heavy backpack around all day puts a lot of stress on your shoulders and back.
    — To reduce the amount of stress on your back, bend your knees when you lift something heavy.
    See More Examples

Full Definition of stress  (Entry 1 of 2)

  1.  constraining force or influence: such as
    a: a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part especially: the intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch
    b: the deformation caused in a body by such a force
    c: a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
    d: a state resulting from a stress especially: one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium job-related stress
    e: STRAINPRESSUREthe environment is under stress to the point of collapse— Joseph Shoben
  2.  EMPHASISWEIGHTlay stress on a point
  3. archaic intense effort or exertion
  4. intensity of utterance given to a speech sound, syllable, or word producing relative loudness
  5. a: relative force or prominence of sound in verse
    b: a syllable having relative force or prominence
  6. ACCENT sense 5a

stress

verb

stressedstressingstresses

Definition of stress (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

  1. to subject to physical or psychological stress
    stressing the equipment
    — this traffic is stressing me out
  2. to subject to phonetic stress ACCENT
  3. to lay stress on EMPHASIZE
    stressed the importance of teamwork

intransitive verbto feel stress stressing about the big exam—often used with out

Definition of Strain found in https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strain:

strain

noun

\ ˈstrān  \

Definition of strain (Entry 1 of 3)

  1. a: LINEAGEANCESTRY
    b: a group of presumed common ancestry with clear-cut physiological but usually not morphological distinctions
    — a high-yielding strain of winter wheat
    broadlya specified infraspecific group (such as a stock, line, or ecotype)
    c: KINDSORT
    — discussions of a lofty strain
  2. a: inherited or inherent character, quality, or disposition
    — a strain of weakness in the family
    b: TRACESTREAK
    — a strain of fanaticism
  3. a: TUNEAIR
    b: a passage of verbal or musical expression
    c: a stream or outburst of forceful or impassioned speech
  4. a: the tenor, pervading note, burden, or tone of an utterance or of a course of action or conduct
    b: MOODTEMPER

strain

verb

strainedstrainingstrains

Definition of strain (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb
  1. a: to draw tight cause to fit firmly
    strain the bandage over the wound
    b: to stretch to maximum extension and tautness
    strain a canvas over a frame
  2. a: to exert (oneself, one’s senses, etc.) to the utmost
    b: to injure by overuse, misuse, or excessive pressure
    strained his back
    c: to cause a change of form or size in (a body) by application of external force
  3. to squeeze or clasp tightly: such as
    a: HUG
    b: to compress painfully CONSTRICT
  4. a: to cause to pass through a strainerFILTER
    b: to remove by straining
    strain lumps out of the gravy
  5. to stretch beyond a proper limit
    — that story strains my credulity
  6. obsolete to squeeze out EXTORT
intransitive verb
  1. a: to make violent efforts STRIVE has to strain to reach the high notes
    b: to pull against resistancea dog straining at its leashc: to contract the muscles forcefully in attempting to defecate —often used in the phrase strain at stool
  2. to pass through or as if through a strainerthe liquid strains readily
  3. to make great difficulty or resistance BALK strain a point: to go beyond a usual, accepted, or proper limit or rule

strain

noun (2)

Definition of strain (Entry 3 of 3)

  1. an act of straining or the condition of being strained: such as
    a: bodily injury from excessive tension, effort, or use
    — heart strain
    especiallyone resulting from a wrench or twist and involving undue stretching of muscles or ligaments
    — back strain
    b: excessive or difficult exertion or labor
    c: excessive physical or mental tensionalsoa force, influence, or factor causing such tension
    — a strain on the marriage
    d: deformation of a material body under the action of applied forces
  2. an unusual reach, degree, or intensity PITCH
  3. archaic a strained interpretation of something said or written

So with all this insight and perspective from the natural or human world, let’s take a moment to stop and turn to God, the author, creator, and perfector to see what He has to say:


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 12TH


God’s Formula For Stress Relief


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.’

Isaiah 26:3

Let’s look for more context and details around today’s verse by expanding the verse and using the Amplified version.

‘In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and ramparts. Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that remains faithful and trustworthy. You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]. For He has thrown down the [arrogant] ones who dwell on high, the lofty and inaccessible city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He hurls it to the dust. The foot will trample it, Even the feet of the suffering, and the steps of the helpless.” The way of the righteous [those in right-standing with God—living in moral and spiritual integrity] is smooth and level; O Upright One, make a level path for the just and righteous. Indeed, in the path of Your judgments, O Lord, We have waited expectantly for You; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire and deep longing of our souls. In the night my soul longs for You [O Lord ], Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For [only] when Your judgments are experienced on the earth Will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Though the wicked is shown compassion and favor, He does not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he deals unjustly, And refuses to see the majesty of the Lord. Though Your hand is lifted up [to strike], O Lord, the wicked do not see it. Let them see Your zeal for Your people and be put to shame; Indeed, let the fire reserved for Your enemies consume them. Lord, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all that we have done. O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled over us; But through You alone we confess Your name. The [wicked] dead will not live [again], the spirits of the dead will not rise and return; Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, And You have wiped out every memory of them [every trace of them]. You have increased the nation, O Lord; You have increased the nation, You are glorified; You have extended all the borders of the land. O Lord, they sought You in distress; They managed only a prayerful whisper When Your discipline was upon them. As a woman with child approaches the time to give birth, She is in pain and struggles and cries out in her labor, So we were before You, O Lord. We have been with child, we have twisted and struggled in labor; We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind. We could not accomplish salvation for the earth, Nor were inhabitants of the world born. Your dead will live; Their dead bodies will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy! For your dew is a dew of [celestial] light [heavenly, supernatural], And the earth will give birth to the spirits of the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers And shut your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until the [Lord’s ] wrath is past. Listen carefully, the Lord is about to come out of His [heavenly] place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their wickedness [their sin, their injustice, their wrongdoing]; The earth will reveal the [innocent] blood shed upon her And will no longer cover her slain.’

Isaiah 26:1-21

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Perfect peace, is that what you want?
  • Perfect peace, is that what you are looking for?
  • Perfect peace, the one that goes beyond all understanding, is that the one?
  • Would you recognize it if you saw it?
  • Do you know what you are looking for?
  • If stress is an alarm clock, when it goes off do you keep hitting the snooze button? Or worse, do you just shut it off or unplug it?
  • Is the alarm that is going off busyness?
  • Is the alarm that is going off hurriedness?
  • Is the alarm that is going off overwhelmingness?
  • Are you looking for peace or a distraction?
  • Are you looking for peace or an escape?
  • So why not stop, turn back to God, and allow His peace into your life?
  • If Isaiah was able to offer such a peace to people who were dealing with a lot more than what we are or could be dealing with then why not us?
  • If Isaiah was able to offer such a peace to men and women who had been defeated in war and taken into slavery, how much do these words mean for you and me and our circumstances today?
  • Feeling like life is out of control? Turn to God and allow Him who promised to rescue you to do so.
  • Feeling like life is out of control? Turn to God and allow Him who promised to restore you to do so.
  • God’s promise wasn’t just physically! It was a promise spiritually and emotionally too!
  • Perfect peace doesn’t come from schedules or happenstance.
  • The key to perfect peace is focusing on God! His goodness! His strength! His kindness! His love! His purpose!
  • Let’s go beyond knowing and step into trusting these things are true of God!
  • Let’s go from head knowledge to heart trusting God!
  • Let’s go from knowing about God to having a relationship and getting to delight and experience His leading each day!
  • Let’s allow His peace be a benchmark for when the stresses of life come our way!
  • Let’s allow God to lead and guide us when those stresses come so that we can say yes or no in alignment with God’s purpose and plan!
  • Let’s focus on getting God’s good works that He has prepared in advance for us to accomplish to get done rather than chasing after possessions, positions, and pleasure!
  • Let’s decide today that we will pursue God’s perfect peace!
  • Are you missing out or lacking in comfort or peace?
  • Do you have peace and hope today?
  • God’s faithfulness isn’t based on us.
  • Peace and Reconciliation (The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 12])

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are some things that rob you of God’s peace?
  • What are some ways you can fix your mind and heart on God’s character and His will for you?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Surely it makes sense that the Lord who knew how to create the world knows how to run it– including even your life.”

Zig Ziglar

As we move into December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kick off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters which means we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 12:

‘In the meantime, after so many thousands of the people had gathered that they were stepping on one another, Jesus began speaking first of all to His disciples, “Be continually on your guard against the leaven of the Pharisees [that is, their pervasive, corrupting influence and teaching], which is hypocrisy [producing self-righteousness]. But there is nothing [so carefully] concealed that it will not be revealed, nor so hidden that it will not be made known. For that reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will point out to you whom you should fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority and power to hurl [you] into hell; yes, I say to you, [stand in great awe of God and] fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? Yet not one of them has [ever] been forgotten in the presence of God. Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are far more valuable than many sparrows. “I say to you, whoever declares openly and confesses Me before men [speaking freely of Me as his Lord], the Son of Man also will declare openly and confess him [as one of His own] before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit [that is, whoever intentionally discredits the Holy Spirit by attributing the authenticating miracles done by Me to Satan], it will not be forgiven him [for him there is no forgiveness]. When they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities, do not be worried about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Someone from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or an arbitrator over [the two of] you?” Then He said to them, “Watch out and guard yourselves against every form of greed; for not even when one has an overflowing abundance does his life consist of nor is it derived from his possessions.”

Then He told them a parable, saying, “There was a rich man whose land was very fertile and productive. And he began thinking to himself, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place [large enough in which] to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my storehouses and build larger ones, and I will store all my grain and my goods there. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many good things stored up, [enough] for many years; rest and relax, eat, drink and be merry (celebrate continually).” ’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own all the things you have prepared?’ So it is for the one who continues to store up and hoard possessions for himself, and is not rich [in his relationship] toward God.” Jesus said to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; or about your body, as to what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the crop]; they have no storehouse or barn, and yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add one hour to his life’s span? So if you are not even able to do a very little thing [such as that], why are you worried about the rest? Consider the lilies and wildflowers, how they grow [in the open field]. They neither labor nor spin [wool to make clothing]; yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. But if this is how God clothes the grass which is in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You of little faith! So as for you, do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink; nor have an anxious and unsettled mind. For all the [pagan] nations of the world greedily seek these things; and your [heavenly] Father [already] knows that you need them. But [strive for and actively] seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid and anxious, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. “Sell your possessions (show compassion) and give [donations] to the poor. Provide money belts for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing and inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“Be dressed and ready for active service, and keep your lamps continuously burning. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that when he comes and knocks they may immediately open the door for him. Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) are those servants whom the master finds awake and watching when he arrives. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he will prepare himself to serve, and will have them recline at the table, and will come and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch (before midnight), or even in the third (after midnight), and finds them so [prepared and ready], blessed are those servants. “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time the thief was coming, he [would have been awake and alert, and] would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be continually ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” Peter said, “Lord, are You addressing this parable to us [disciples], or to everyone else as well?”

The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward [of the estate], whom his master will put in charge over his household, to give his servants their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is that servant whom his master finds so doing when he arrives. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking his time in coming,’ and begins to beat the servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and yet did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will be beaten with many lashes [of the whip], but the one who did not know it and did things worthy of a beating, will receive only a few [lashes]. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

“I have come to cast fire (judgment) on the earth; and how I wish that it were already kindled! I have a baptism [of great suffering] with which to be baptized, and how [greatly] I am distressed until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division [between believers and unbelievers]; for from now on five in one household will be divided [over Me], three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain,’ and that is how it turns out. And when [you see that] a south wind is blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it happens. You hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders)! You know how to analyze and intelligently interpret the appearance of the earth and sky [to forecast the weather], but why do you not intelligently interpret this present time? “And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right? For while you are going with your opponent [at law] to appear before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle, so that he does not drag you before the judge, and the judge does not [rule against you and] turn you over to the officer, and the officer does not throw you into prison. I say to you, you [absolutely] will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent.”’

Luke 12:1-59

So where are you at today? Are you at a tipping point where you need to deal with or find a method so that you can get healthy again? Are you needing God’s wisdom and discernment to help you get your life back on track and His help in running it? Are you looking to find that peace that surpasses all understanding? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and your life? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

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